In late 2013, a little band called Chumped seemingly came out of nowhere (Nowhere, Brooklyn, to be exact) and took the internet by storm. There was a lot to be said about this foursome and their self-titled EP, mostly positive, and it was clear that big things were in their future. Here we are a year later and the band has released their debut full length, Teenage Retirement, which confirms that the future is now, and it does not disappoint.
Upon first listen, Teenage Retirement sounds exactly like you might expect it to based on the Chumped EP: pop punk songs about feelings led by Anika Pyle’s nasally croon. However, for all the familiar things that make up the album, Chumped sure knows how to twist and turn to keep listeners alert. The album starts with the somber, winter-centric “December Is the Longest Month”, setting an introspective tone for the whole album- only to kick it down with the peppy and warm “Hot 97 Summer Jam”, followed up by “Coffee”, which features completely unannounced lead vocals by bassist Doug McKeever. This kind of sequencing helps to keep the listener guessing what is going to happen next, with the energy bouncing from mid-tempo to high throughout the album. Chumped still managed to throw a curveball by ending the album with two four minute tracks: the simultaneously sparse and dense “The Pains of Being…” and the slightly more upbeat (but still kind of a bummer) “Old and Tired”.
Chumped’s lyrics are at their best when they reflect on the hardships that come alongside entering your twenties in these modern times. “Don’t you give me all those lines about hope, we can’t spend any more time hoping” (“Songs About Boats”), “I regret that I never acknowledge what I want but what I think I should” (“Something About Geography”), “We get older. Times moves faster. You stay the same.” (“The Pains of Being…”). It might be a cliché to say, but these lyrics speak a lot of truth to not just the youth of today, but perhaps the entire iGeneration.
Teenage Retirement is the type of album that has a song that fits almost any kind of mixtape, for a friend, for a family member, or for that special someone. Teenage Retirement is the type of album that you can listen to when you’re feeling down, or when everything is hunky dory. Teenage Retirement is the type of album that people in the year 2034 will look back on with the same sense of nostalgia that we in 2014 have for albums like Siamese Dream and 24 Hour Revenge Therapy. Simply put, Teenage Retirement is a damn fine album.
4.5 / 5
RIYL: Saves the Day, Letters to Cleo, The Promise Ring