American emo rock band, Bayside, recently released their seventh studio album, Vacancy, on August 19, 2016. With its relatable content and matured emo roots, it’s the punk rock ballad album I needed as an angsty twelve-year-old looking for musical direction.
Vacancy opens with ‘Two Letters’, gritty guitar riffs slipping seamlessly under Anthony Raneri’s iconic vocals. It’s hard to articulate the heaviness you feel inside when you hear certain songs but when Raneri sings ‘I hope you understand; I’m not prepared to call you just a friend’, it almost gets easier. Vacancy is a break up album almost, but not your typical break up album. There’s no sad ballad, no self-pity, there’s just the truth.
The track ‘Pretty Vacant’ (not sure if that’s a Sex Pistols reference or not) is arguably one of the happiest tracks on the album. It’s a stand out track, one that dares listeners to sing along. Raneri’s voice is rough and edgy as he confesses, ‘Now I can’t call the shots and uncomfortable is so comforting,’ and listeners are led in this confession with him.
Vacancy winds down quickly with its last three tracks, ‘The Ghost’, ‘It Doesn’t Make It True’, and ‘It’s Not As Depressing As It Sounds’. They focus on deeper issues such as divorce and close the record softly, leaving the listener feeling introspective.
Once again Bayside provides their listeners and fans with a gut wrenching, emotionally excruciating style of music. They continue to stand out even after 16 years in the music industry. While some songs are not as strong as others, Vacancy is a solid body of work that deserves to be listened to.
Favorite Tracks: Two Letters, Enemy Lines, Pretty Vacant, Rumsprings (Return to Heartbreak Road)