The thought of doing anything the requires me leaving the house right now sounds miserable. I don’t know where you are at but, up here in Minneapolis, the air is thick with smoke from the Canadian wildfires and it makes going outside miserable. I don’t even have asthma but I feel like I can’t breathe any time I step outside so here I am. Stuck in my house for a Wednesday night but I’m going to make the best of it by going through some music and sharing it with all of you! So buckle up and let’s start the journey with Ivy League’s brand new EP, ‘Everything I Ever Wanted’.
This quick four-song EP kicks off with the title track, “Everything I Ever Wanted”. This song starts with a playful and joyful stringed instrument solo (I honestly can’t tell if it’s a guitar or bass so not jumping to a conclusion here). This intro pulls you in with a sense of whimsy and optimism that only grows as the rest of the band and gang vocals take over. “Hey! Do you ever feel left behind?” What a powerful line of words to kick this EP off with. I instantly felt like Ivy League was speaking explicitly to me in all of the right ways. This song continues with the jovial mood that kicked the song off but it turns into a super powerful and moving song when you start to pay attention to the words. The lyrics essentially invite you into the Ivy League. The band welcomes you in and assures you that this is where you belong which, in turn, gave me the sense of settling in for the rest of this release. I literally squished into my chair a little bit more, leaned back, crossed my ankles under my desk, and just took some deep breaths as this song came to an end with a very satisfied yet excited feeling in my soul.
“The Weight” continues with the gang-vocal style that is clearly a signature of Ivy League but brings a bit more of a sense of angst and punk sensibility to this album. It was instantly a favorite track of mine as I heard lyrics like “Oh god, It’s alright/ Tonight I could use a little help” and “… breathe in, hold and let go”. Again, I felt like this band knew me and they were somehow inside of my brain and picking out all of my thoughts and putting them to song while also having an almost conversational feel to it all. It was bizarre and I feel like it made it hard to listen through this song without getting emotional. Although this song is sharing thoughts of being overwhelmed (at least that’s how I took it), instead of explaining ways to get through those feelings, I found myself completely taken over by emotions. There’s an epic ending that starts right around the three and a half minute point of this song where I lost it. I don’t even know what took over me but the chanted styled vocals just struck me so… so hard and the epic instrumentation that came with this ending just sent me over the edge. Honestly, I listened to this song at least a dozen times before moving on and I’m not ashamed of it. What an absolutely amazing track on what’s shaping up to be an amazing EP.
I know I’m overly exhausted and overly stressed but that’s just how I live and it doesn’t explain why all of these songs seem to be hitting me right in the emotional gut in a beyond powerful way. (Spoiler– I talked to John of Ivy League about this next song in a little interview we did a couple of months ago. Check it out HERE!) “We Are Infinite” starts with a very Hotel Books spoken word poetry portion which is a style I will always be a sucker for. I’m not going to spoil the words of the poetry portion of this song but I will say to get those tissues ready. Again, I felt so overcome by emotion that, by the time the drums came in on this song, I was desperate to hit stop on the track and just have a good cry but powered through with the help of the lyrics in the bulk of this song. “Hey hey hey! I’m OK / Sometimes I just get a little sad”. I mean, again, here Ivy League is– all up in my brain. The way this song goes from such a serious intro to a super fun and infectious track is absolutely brilliant and although the difference between the beginning and rest of this track is stark, it works flawlessly.
I don’t want this album to end and it kills me that it’s only four tracks long. I found myself constantly going through the first three songs before getting to the final track, “St. Tom, 1941”. I truly just did not want my connection with Ivy League to end. That sounds silly and I know I can put this EP on whenever I want (which will be constantly apparently) but I felt like listening to the last track would mean I have to move on with my night and I loved the support and comfort I was feeling from Ivy League too much to just leave it behind and continue with my evening. All good things must come to an end. We all know that and “St. Tom, 1941” ends ‘Everything I Ever Wanted’ is a perfect way.
Another super powerful track, I feel like you get to see more of a tender side of Ivy League when it comes to the instrumentation. There are still those distinct Ivy League styled vocals and still a sense of angst, hopelessness, and triumph throughout this song but I feel like the overall song is just a bit more tenderly written. I mean, the emotion in this song is absolutely staggering but so is the epicness of parts of it. The ebb and flow of this song left me speechless but so did the lyrics (yet again– clearly written just for me). I feel like I’ve given so much away when it comes to this album and the lyrics so I’m not going to do that for “St. Tom, 1941” but I will say that this is a truly stunning way to way may be one of my favorite releases of the year.
That’s right, I said it and I am calling it now. ‘Everything I Ever Wanted’ will probably end up in my top lists of the year. It’s a flawless EP with so much heart and emotion in it. It feels like having a deep talk with yourself in your favorite room (or closet) of your house while you have a good cry but instead of feeling exposed by doing this, Ivy League somehow makes you feel supported and like it’s all okay and, like they said, “Sometimes I just get a little sad”. Ivy League gives you an outlet for that sadness, that angst, that emotion that you spend most of your life trying to hide so take advantage of the opportunity.
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