May 5, 2016

LP: Coping Skills - Relatable Web Content

Coping Skills makes Relatable Web Content for your ears.

Being a millennial isn't easy and Coping Skills knows this too well. The Philly-based band made their debut last summer with Everything is Stupid & I Hate It, a bummer pop EP that addresses the loneliness and isolation associated with being a young adult and what an image of that may look like: intoxicated love confessions at happy hour, sending unanswered text messages to an unrequited crush, and trying your best not to answer your ex's drunk dials. Their new album Relatable Web Content is impressive simply on the premise that it was recorded, mixed, and produced by its members Rachel Dispenza and Lauren DeLucca. It will be released in cassette form on Citywide Records, a new DIY label founded and run by Rachel. It's their first full-length to date and, as you might have guessed from the title, further explores life in the Internet Age in a way that is sometimes hilariously self-deprecating and at other times extremely heart-wrenching. The balance that the band is able to strike between the two is key and in many ways, acts as the glittery glue that holds it together throughout.

Self-deprecation seems to be everywhere lately. Melissa Broder celebrates it with @sosadtoday, Reductress posts satire pieces that are too real, even the meme accounts we secretly follow poke fun at our post-modern problems (for example, like, eating too much Seamless or making the deliberate choice to stay in and be anti-social). Coping Skills' Relatable Web Content isn't quite this overt but it does tackle the idea of self-deprecation in a way that makes its title ring true. Opening track "Internet Yardsale" lays down the foundation for the album in just under a minute as the band reminisces on the skeletons in their closets – past personas and old band teeshirts come out of the woodwork and evoke nostalgia in the same way that reading old LiveJournal entries might. In next track "We Bury Our Dead Alive," glistening guitar chords and twirling coos make way for the best chorus you could ask for "I've become hypersensitive to every single beat in my chest." As someone who regularly tells her acupuncturist "I'm a very anxious person," this one-liner was the epitome of #relatablewebcontent for me.

But it doesn't stop there, cryptic humor rears its head even stronger in "Drop Out of College," a song on being way over your head in student debt, so much so that you regret not dropping out of school in the first place. This jangly punk tune wiggles, twists, and turns into the perfect anthem for broke and lost college grads when they sing "I was told to follow my dreams / I could be anything I wanted to be / now what I want most is to be debt free / so please give me all your money!" While "Drop Out of College" points its metaphorical middle finger up to overpriced higher education, "4 Days With Me Will Change Your Life (Cool Girl)" is a giant subtweet to asshole boys and tears down the manic pixie dream girl trope in the most entertaining (and empowering) way possible. Rachel and Lauren tease, as they should, the idea of this hypothetical "dream" girl and its related double standards – "I'm the manic pixie dream girl of your sopping wet dreams / every word that comes out of my mouth is exactly what I mean / I love all your favorite movies, and I love all your favorite shows / and I love when you spew all the useless shit you know." I don't know what else could be more spot on so just going to take this moment to shout out to literally every boy I've ever dated.

Coping Skills may hide their true feelings behind sarcastic statements, but they often remove the facade and get real on songs like "I Don't Feel Good About This." Resurrected from their Everything is Stupid & I Hate It EP, this track tells a stinging story of loss and heartbreak that will make you feeling nothing short of weepy. Relatable Web Content strikes perfect balance because it expresses vulnerability disguised as post-ironic humor, but also in a direct, empathetic way that resonates with us. Both attitudes are relatable depending on what mood you're in. Whether you're crying over your ex or laughing over dark memes with your best friend, Coping Skills' new album has something relatable for everyone.


Listen to Coping Skills on bandcamp.

Written by Diana Cirullo