Grouplove Acts as A “Healer” During Trying Times



Grouplove's new album plays off the success of their classic song "Tounge Tied." (Courtesy of Facebook)

Ed Lucano, Contributing Writer

Grouplove is good at establishing its own brand through the unique music it has put out over the last nine years. Lead vocalists Hannah Hooper and Christian Zucconi use their talents to blur the lines between pop’s catchy lyrics and alternative’s introspective word choice. Once this is paired with the instrumental stylings of guitarist Andrew Wassen, bassist Sean Gadd and drummer Benjamin Homola, the band’s vibrant sound is further brought to life in a way that is both universally well-received and critically acclaimed. Naturally, their fourth album, “Healer,” does not shy away from these habits in the slightest. 

Although I do generally like their new album, I cannot talk about Grouplove without mentioning “Tongue Tied.” In my opinion, this song single-handedly defined what it meant to be a teenager growing up in the 2010s. It is the kind of song that makes you want to stick your head out of the sunroof of your friend’s car while they are driving down an open road on a summer night and sing its lyrics until your voice is hoarse. It is also the kind of song whose longevity makes it a staple of any throwback playlist or a key component to any uplifting Gen Z pop playlist. I am obviously a little biased here, but I cannot help it — I just really like this song.

Sure, it is hard to live up to “Tongue Tied,” but I believe that Grouplove’s attempt to do so with “Deleter” provided fans with a quality bop. This lead single to “Healer” is the band’s breakout entrance into the 2020 music scene, and it doesn’t disappoint. Even though I found it slightly corny that Zucconi rhymed “deleter” with “a leader” in the chorus, I think the energy that the booming guitar riffs, plucky basslines and uplifting backup vocals bring to this track is a great way to kick off the decade. 

For those more inclined to listen to pop over alternative, “Inside Out” and “Hail to the Queen” are the songs for you. The former complements a chorus of warped rallying cry of harmonic vocals with powerful synth chords and a cheerful bass sequence, while the latter uses an impressive variety of falsettos and guitar loops with a rolling drum pattern that could make the most stoic of individuals at least tap their feet to the beat.

My two favorite tracks are “The Great Unknown” and “Ahead of Myself” because they put the alternative in pop/alternative mix. This first song starts off a bit slower and is led by an acoustic guitar. The way Hooper and Zucconi perform their own lyrics in such a staggered yet energetic manner reminds me of Dexter Holland of The Offspring. Although these two bands are drastically different in both tone and era, this song ends up sounding like a mid-2000s surf rock track, and I genuinely appreciate that. Similarly, the second track is acoustic and slowed down in a charming and fun way. The seamless shift between each verse and chorus paired with the raw instrumentals of this track remind me a lot of “Teenage Dirtbag” by Wheatus. Although I have compared both of these songs to the works of other musicians, I think that Grouplove’s personal alternative twist to their tracklist is exactly what “Healer” needed.

I think this album would be fun to listen to in the summer at the beach. Although we are facing unfortunate circumstances that are forcing the country to stay indoors right now, listening to “Healer” is a good way to stay in a positive headspace until life is back in order again.