It’s been a year since Adam DaSilva and Parker Akerman began writing songs as Who Loves You, their angular, at-times-noisy emo project that will release its debut EP Green & Tangerine next week. It was time well spent. In that year, the duo have taken a catalogue of desperate dark memories, fumbling feelings and missed opportunities and molded them into often bright, at times hooky pop songs built for point-at-the-sky singalongs and summer drives.
That juxtaposition of the album’s bleak memories and bright packaging was intentional. Ackerman says he and DaSilva wanted to infuse some sunlight into songs that might feel dour otherwise. “Our goal was to create music that wasn’t so sad and self-deprecating that it couldn’t have other layers,” Ackerman says. “We wanted it to be fun and interesting and enjoyable in a different way.”
The experiences he and DaSilva try to capture “center on distance, loneliness, ending of relationships and the inability to maintain them, all with a sort of ironic detachment,” he says. “We didn’t want to be afraid to be silly or have a sense of humor. But they are real emotions, and I think some of what the songs allude to is the inability to process them.”
That inability to process emotions rings so true at the moment. The material beams the kind of anxious melancholy that projects itself as a defining generational quality. “Hey, we’re gonna die, we’re gonna die someday,” DaSilva sings on “Primer,” the album’s second track, before the gang vocals, so enthusiastic, enter to repeat the refrain. Because for real: Fuck it. We’ve gotten to a dark place, here in the final days of 2016, when getting together with your friends and screaming, “We’re going to die” is as cathartic and hopeful as anything else you can think to do.
It’s not all so bleak. While the album’s eight songs do weave in and out of dark days, they also focus, again and again, on the color green: The color of jealousy, yes, but also of renewal and starting again. “Everyone you love will be all right some day,” the band sings on “Winter,” a song named for the season of the greatest darkness. Let’s hope they’re right.
Green Tangerine is available for preorder now.