Written by Maria Arroyo
The alternative rock band, Sir Sly, shares their deeply personal third album, The Rise and Fall Of Loverboy, via Interscope Records. These songs are from the perspective of Sir Sly’s frontman, Landon Jacobs where he dives into a period of “intense transformation from self-destruction to radical self-discovery.” Helping Jacobs bring this record to life are multi-instrumentalists Hayden Coplen and Jason Suwito.
During the creation of this record, throughout October 2018, Jacobs makes the choice to get sober. He shares his journey back into therapy and how he was working to “directly address the mental health issues he’d long self-medicated with drinking” with transcendental meditation and self-examination.
“I wanted to figure out how to make life feel meaningful again,” Jacobs shares. “To rediscover the sense of purpose I’d lost, when I lost my faith in my early 20s.”
The opening track, “Honey,” brings a nice lo-fi retro energy to begin the album. It’s not over the top and is not underdelivered, but perfectly executed. The next track, “Loverboy,” is super catchy with its fun phrases and easy-to-remember melodies, that stick in your head for hours.
“I’d gotten into a new relationship, and ‘Loverboy’ was the first love song I’d written in a long, long time,” says Jacobs. “It’s me saying, ‘I’m feeling extraordinarily broken, and this relationship is the thing that will fix me.’ As we were finishing up the album, I realized the toxicity of the idea that something outside myself could ever solve all my problems. And if there’s a narrative to the record, it’s about looking for that outside help for most of my life, then eventually overcoming that way of thinking in order to build a healthier mindset.” Here’s the music video for this amazing track!
The next song on the album, “Citizen,” (feat. Gary Clark, Jr.) gives off HUGE Twenty One Pilots vibes with the easily flowing and off-the-cuff phrases, while still holding onto the listener’s attention to tell a compelling story without being “in your face.”
One of my favorite tracks, “Numb,” is probably the album’s biggest heart wrencher. It’s impossible not to feel every ounce of hurt in this song, and I truly think this is the perfect example of an artist putting everything they have into their art while remaining completely real to share their story.
“Are We Having Any Fun?” takes one of the wins for catchiest songs on the record with its easy-to-follow hooks and infectiously catchy instrumentation, while still sticking to telling the story of Jacobs‘ darkest moments.
“That song was born out of looking back at my compulsive drinking and wondering what it would be like to see it from the outside,” says Jacobs. “It’s partly lamenting not being able to remember the specifics of what were probably amazing nights in my life, but it’s also asking everyone, ‘How much fun are we really having if we’re not going to remember most of it tomorrow?'”
The next track, “Material Boy,” is a huge self-reflector and paints a very honest picture of Jacobs to his listeners. “As I was getting sober, I had the revelation that I’d made the mistake of conflating religion and spirituality, and really thrown out all sense of a spiritual identity in losing my religion,” says Jacobs. “I’d sunk very deeply into a nihilistic worldview, and there was this huge spiritual deficit in my life. Now I know that what spirituality means to me is being okay with not being in control, and living life much more in the moment.”
The following track, “sick sick [sic],” is described as one of the album’s more unsettling moments, which is nothing short of intense, and definitely not for the passive listener. “Little Deaths” uses a ton of visual similes to talk about problems with co-dependency and the dangers that can arise from it. In my experience, co-dependency can be one hell of a habit to kick. Personally, I felt pretty co-dependent at the beginning of my relationship, but it was only through my partner’s help in teaching me to be self-reliant, that I was able to kick that habit, so thank you for taking the time to talk about these difficult subjects.
The track, “All I Want To Do Is Cry (In The Club),” is another gut-wrenching track that stuck with me even after the album finished.
Closing this amazing project is “b!!!rds,” which becomes a beautifully intimate and fitting ending for such an emotionally stimulating record. His transformation to a darker sound for the album is so unexpected, but in the best ways, and such an incredible way to close out the album!
Jacobs also shares that working on The Rise and Fall of Loverboy has been his “lifeline as he worked his way toward health and sobriety.” His ability to be completely transparent and open earns him the most amount of respect in my book, and I truly couldn’t have enjoyed this album any more than I did. I hope that Sir Sly continues to touch people on a deeper level as they’ve done with this record.
Jacobs shares a beautiful statement that I think is the only appropriate way to end this review, other than a huge thank you from me to him for sharing his story.
“For a long time I thought that everybody who’s happy is fake, and everybody who’s hopeful is lying to themselves—and now I realize that’s just about the shittiest thing you can believe. So instead of feeding into a system that touts those sorts of ideas, I want to be a voice of positivity. And I’ve always said that I want our music to help people feel less alone, but now I want them to take that one step further and actively seek connection with other people. Because even though the idea of opening up to someone else can seem really scary, in the end, I think it’s the most valuable thing you could do.”
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