Bad Sleep turns unspoken frustration into empowered pop songs on their debut EP.
Bad Sleep’s debut EP is full of bright, attitude-filled bangers. The genuine honesty and whimsical cynicism in their lyrics come across as notes to ex-partners and ex-friends that were never sent. Vocalist Lily Richeson sings with authority and a teasing undertone accompanied by playful guitar riffs, bouncy drum-beats, and lively bass lines. "Bad Rep," the second song on the album, is the embodiment of Bad Sleep’s audacious openness. “You’re miles away / I can’t say I didn’t tell ya,” Richeson sings knowingly as she points out with brutal honesty how starting rumors can screw you over. The quick-changing chords in the chorus are like rising anger, building up to a final confrontation when Richeson delivers the accusation of “talking mean like you know something new about them.” The driving bass line and tom-heavy drum parts bob along as Richeson delivers her bold message, and a snarky guitar solo gives the band an air of authority as they stand up to a problematic person’s dangerous words.
Nostalgia is also a persistent theme in E.P. as Bad Sleep reflects on the relationships they’ve lost and the conflicts that drive people apart. “You don’t talk to me like you did when we were friends,” Richeson sighs in the third track, "Short List." “You don’t talk at all / You’re just a photograph on my wall.” A repetitive and jarring guitar riff is repeated throughout the song, reminding listeners of the recurring issues that people in negative relationships must face. Despite the song’s wistful tone, there's a sense of hopefulness and optimism in the sentimentality of the lyrics. “Don’t Care,” as the name implies, is an empowering and self-righteous song that indicates the return of Bad Sleep’s playful and brave tone after the melancholy of “Short List.” “I don’t care what you’re thinking, and I never even tried to,” Richeson nonchalantly admits and casually continues with the subtle diss, “I just lost your number.” She proudly shows her disinterest in the persistent person advancing on her. The ascending chords in the chorus reflect the heightened bold attitude of the song as Richeson sings confidently about independence and self-possession. Hopefully each of the subjects of these songs catch an earful of the EP and have a light bulb moment where they face the problems they’ve caused. Whether or not they meet this fate, I, like the rest of Bad Sleep, know how relieving it feels to turn built up frustration and unspoken rants into empowered and cheerful pop songs.
Listen to Bad Sleep on bandcamp.
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Brianna Peterson plays awkward pop punk country in a band called Cooper!, loves everything outdoors and Twin Peaks, and is painfully torn between being a dog or a cat person.