Just a few songs into my initial spin of Makeout‘s debut full-length The Good Life, I realize that it is entirely irrelevant what I think about the album or what I will write because this album is decidedly not for me. This is an album that is firmly poised for a far younger demographic, one that is at once tongue-in-cheek and juvenile, for those who believe they are clever today but might grimace to look back on it later on in life.
The first three tracks are straight up juvenile pop-punk, albeit with more gaslighting and social media references. They’re a finger in the chest of anyone over 18 attempting to sit down to the record, declaring loudly, “You are not welcome here.” Point taken, Makeout: you can have it. The rest of the album sounds much more like the kind of formulaic post-hardcore that Paramore emboldened, a mallcore version of the genre that is at once trying not to be too aggressive or offensive. Sort of like a palate cleanser for anyone who may have been too lame to ‘get’ their first three tracks. Of course, it has clear nods to some bands they have shared the stage with last year, the most obvious being their sweethearts Blink-182, the godfathers themselves of pop-punk. This is most noticeable in their song “You Can’t Blame Me”, as clear a nod to Blink’s “Adam’s Song” as can be made.
This is all to say that while I may not like this album, maybe that’s the point. It’s pretty clear the band are capable of snotty pop-punk and also wield serious melodic chops. They are a talented band that has been welcomed into the L.A. music scene by some of the most successful artists and producers it can offer, so anything I say will more than likely be chalked up to “hater status”. Which is fair, because I do hate a lot about this album and its Clear Channel version of pop-punk.
With that said, I feel like you can emote without feeling the need to tell a girl to choke on a hot dog (from 7-11 no less), or just straight up calling her a whore, as exhibited on “Secrets”, a song that at once wants to be edgy and honest. However, I don’t feel like encouraging guys to be shitty to girls helps anyone, and I had hoped had gone the way of wallet chains and baggy jeans. I get it, these are young guys making music that means something to them and are being authentic. But on balance, I remember when people stopped me in my tracks to point out when I was acting in a way that was problematic and just straight up prickish, which is why I feel the need to do the same in this instance.
Overall, this is an album that will have its own portion of the high school market, and will likely yield much success for a new band that is finding its way through the world. And while I write out here in the grim, grey, bleakness of the English countryside in autumn, perhaps I’m cognizant of the fact that while I may be the one trying to tell kids how to have a good time, I know it has nothing to do with me. Let them eat their fucking cake.
The Good Life Track Listing:
04. Ride It Out
05. Open Minded
06. You Can’t Blame Me
08. Till We’re Gone
09. Salt Lake City
11. Where’s My Charger
12. Blast Off
Run Time: 37:08
Release Date: September 29, 2017
Check out the band’s music video for their single “Ride It Out”