By: Juztin Bello, Copy Editor
Does the current state of the world have you wallowing in despair? Well, hopefully the release of Wallows’ new EP Remote can help alleviate those worries for at least 16 and a half minutes. Wallows, consisting of Dylan Minnette, Braeden Lemasters, and Cole Preston, released Remote on October 23, following the release of their album Nothing Happens in 2019. As the name suggests, the album was completely done remotely in adherence with COVID-19 — to listeners, this is not apparent, due to both the sound and lyrical quality of the entire collection. To celebrate the release of this highly anticipated EP, here are some things that I did remotely that are definitely as time-inducing and require just as much talent as coming out with a remote EP during quarantine.
Remember when gyms were a thing? Me neither. With this upbeat starter to the EP, Minnette sings about doing virtual aerobics together, a nod to traversing the beginning stages of working things out with early partners and learning one another’s movements. Lyrics such as “Wanna dress in what makes you like me” demonstrate a desire to be flexible in order to mold to a partner’s desires. The virtual aspect of the song ties into the isolation normalized by quarantining, but the mental image of doing aerobics with another person from far away brings the feeling of connectedness back in. Listening to this song takes me back to attempting to workout during the early stages of quarantine in my tiny bedroom, having to learn to adapt to my smaller surroundings until finally moving in a way cohesive with my environment. Does it speak volumes that this song is about flirting with another person and I’m thinking about sweating alone in my room? Perhaps.
Grab your shovels, because you’re really going to dig this next track. (Sorry, I’ll just bury myself out back.) This second song features both Lemasters and Minnette sharing the spotlight overtop masterfully layered guitar tracks. As I listen to this song, I can’t help but think of all of the holes I’ve dug myself into, and which of those I need to deal with first. Will it be me digging myself out of the pile of work I constantly put off on a weekly basis? Will it be the hole I wish to bury myself in to avoid the stress brought on by 2020? Will it be my tendency to dig a little too deep into politics resulting in sleepless, stress-induced nights? Or all of the above?
As the EP’s lead single, “Nobody Gets Me (Like You)” was listeners’ first taste of Remote, and boy does this song have a decadent flavour. Featuring the vocal talents of Lemasters, the song boasts an early 2000s pop-rock sound detailing a chance encounter at a social event — socially distant, to be sure. Romance during the time of isolation has not been easy, but if there’s one person I’ve made a deep, personal connection with it has to be the delivery person who brings me sushi at least once a week. I know we barely know each other and hardly ever see each other with contactless delivery, but there’s a sort of comfort in knowing he just understands my needs and my preferences. So this one goes out to you, sushi delivery guy — there are so many people (who could deliver my food), and nobody gets me (my food) like you.
A song that puts the distant in socially distant, “Coastlines” covers the lament of someone far from the person they want to be with. Minnette takes lead on this track, proclaiming he doesn’t “want to think about it” — it, in this sense, being distance, which fits the EP’s isolation theme. To me, this song harkens back to the early stages of quarantine, when my friends and I would plan group Zoom calls every Saturday. As I’m sure most can agree, the feeling of being with another person vs. seeing them on a screen is tremendously different, and while we hope that these techniques will compensate for the physical distance, sadly they do not. Though most of us are not on separate coastlines, this song addresses the fact that distance is tough and can feel grand no matter how far.
You thought trying to flirt with people was hard before? Imagine trying to do it in the middle of a pandemic. The second-to-last song on the EP, “Talk Like That” brings me back to the numerous attempts I’ve made at trying to converse with men on dating apps, fully knowing that there’s a very slim chance it could go anywhere with restrictions and needs to isolate. I fully resonate with the lyrics “Imply one thing and I’ll think about it for days” and “feels like death” because that’s how the talking stages of flirting feel to me. The overall sound of this song is cheerier than the previous track, but somehow it makes me feel just as much remorse thinking about my love life.
The last song of the EP, “Wish Me Luck” features a more sombre sound compared to the other tracks, feeling like a song suited for a lonely late night with the faint lighting of a lamp barely luminating the room. With Minnette singing “I’m always just getting stuck inside of my mind / I’ll be fine,” I look back on the many nights I’ve spent in isolation lying atop my covers, the only sound being my own breathing under the rhythmic turning of a fan. It’s undeniable that isolation has been a major setback, but, looking back, what I appreciate about it is it gave me time to really just be alone and lose myself in my thoughts. Good or bad, there’s reassurance that regardless of what atrocities are happening around me, much like what this song states, “I’m alright, I’ll be fine.”