November 28, 2016

LP: Joyride! - Half Moon Bay

Joyride!'s Half Moon Bay is a journey of escapism.

In an episode of the FX comedy You’re the Worst, we follow the protagonist Gretchen as she stalks and tries to befriend an LA couple in her neighborhood. They have a home, a child, a dog, and generally seem like they’re living a great life. Gretchen, currently grappling with her clinical depression, wants to be like them. Of course, she discovers that the husband longs for his youth and complains about his marriage, revealing that under the surface they’re just as rotten inside. The truth of this couple’s life shouldn’t surprise because nobody’s life is perfect, but for Gretchen, she wants so badly to be someone other than her depressed self that she deludes herself into thinking she can have the same seemingly perfect life, too. 

When you don’t like who you are or how you are or what you are, you will find any opportunity to escape. Ultimately, we are all stuck in these bodies. On their third LP, Half Moon Bay, Joyride! also tries to escape. “I wanna be more like you,” vocalist Jenna Marx says near the end of the record; the person she’s with is someone who has self-love and finds worth in their own ideas, which she admittedly doesn’t. Seeing others who appear to have no shred of self-doubt as they achieve what they want compounds the misery. You’re stuck, physically and emotionally. When you find a person who shows a glimpse of ability to rebuild your fragile self, you will hold on to them no matter how broken the relationship becomes. When the end inevitably arrives, your inability to change and disappointment that the other person doesn’t want to deal with your shit dragging them down anymore, you only feel worse about yourself. “You left the light on / I stayed for too long,” she sings on the sunny “Hold That Thought.” She knew her choice to stay was wrong and yet...feeling the distance between you and your partner grow in real time is a unbelievably lonely feeling. “I wouldn’t move 'til the morning and you’d be gone,” she continues. If you’ve never experienced this exact situation, consider yourself lucky. Literally and figuratively, they are moving and you are not. Of course you know how it feels to fall apart at your reflection as Marx sings over the heavy, rolling rhythm section and squealing together on the mighty opener, “How It Feels.” Even the most empathetic person has their limits. The thought doesn't provide any comfort, though.

Bitterness and resentment are hard to shake, but you have to find a way to feel an ounce of contentment. One way to do that is to spend time with other stuck souls and embrace the disillusionment. On the calm-after-the-storm that is the rest of the album - it’s a breezy, punky, storm, but a storm nonetheless - is the finale, “Have to Tell Her.” Adding keys and acoustic guitar to the mix, Marx sings, “I was hoping that one of us would have made it out / But we’re still wading through a waist-deep water.” She sounds slightly peeved at first, but a sense of comfort and a slight smile emerges. “I know that I’m my mother’s daughter,” she concludes before the music gently guides us to the future. This line not only provides insight into why she is the way she is, but emphasizes that we are not alone in the way we feel. And that's where we will find peace.


Listen to Joyride! on bandcamp.

Alex Stern is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia, PA. He enjoys Hemingway Daiquiris, Frasier, and lox. You can follow him on Twitter @alyman007, but he won't be offended if you don't.