“I do things right for all the wrong reason,” Noah Deutschmann of Tribe Friday sings. Their third single, “for real?”, from the upcoming album bubblegum emo, pushes hard on the pain of making bad decisions for external validation. But with a bright punch of harmony right from the start, the negativity is tempered perfectly.
Tribe Friday strike the balance between the self-deprecating lyrics that encapsulate the teenage and young adult mind and bounding guitar hooks that make you want to dance. It’s no wonder they’re in the running to represent Sweden at Eurovision. They’ve cracked the code on embedding truth in powerful, catchy hooks.
As Isak Gunnarsson’s guitar picks up energy, Robin Hanberger-Pérez’s bass matches. The dark lyrics sweetly float over a harmonic brilliance brimming. Even the most hurtful lines, like “stay sad so she’ll want to see me, treat me like someone you care for,” feel light.
But that’s not to detract from the deep meaning and pain in “for real?”. In the semi-spoken concluding bars, Tribe Friday admit, “I don’t want this life, then I kind of do.” Not knowing what you want is a perfect summary of the pain that leads to these decisions and a perfectly catchy line to stick in you your ear and keep you thinking as you hum it all night.
Stream “for real?” below.
Ben is an advertising Madman who spends his days with words and music. When he’s not writing for his supper, he’s eating it at some of NYC’s most interesting restaurants.