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Hellogoodbye - Everything Is Debatable Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.5
Musicianship 8.5
Lyrics 8.5
Production 8.5
Creativity 8.5
Lasting Value 8.5
Reviewer Tilt 8.5
Final Verdict: 85%
Member Ratings
Vocals 7.78
Musicianship 7.81
Lyrics 7.34
Production 7.81
Creativity 7.84
Lasting Value 7.5
Reviewer Tilt 7.66
Average: 77%
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This review was written by an AP.net staff member.

Hellogoodbye - Everything Is Debatable

Reviewed by: Drew Beringer (11/06/13)
Hellogoodbye - Everything Is Debatable
Release Date: October 29, 2013
Record Label: Old Friends


You could say Forrest Kiline went through the music equivalent of the television show What Not To Wear as 2011’s critically lauded Would It Kill You? was a stark departure from the electro-pop his band Hellogoodbye released years previous on Drive-Thru Records. In fact, it was one of the most remarkable band makeovers in recent memory. During the four years it took for Kline to move past Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs! and escape Drive Thru Records, he stripped down and reimagined the band’s sound with a more organic and mature indie-pop sound - a stylistic shift that resonated well with fans new and old. Gone were the auto-tuned vocals and glitchy techno noises, replaced by brass instruments, acoustic guitars, and natural sounding drums. It was a welcomed listening experience for those turned off by the neon/crunk/dance craze of the mid-2000s. So how would Kline attempt to top such a successful sophomore effort? How about taking bits and pieces from the band’s earlier work and integrating it within Hellogoodbye’s current vision in a more sophisticated manner.

It’d be tough for any artist to outdo the pop perfection of Would It Kill You?, but I’ll be damned if Everything Is Debatable doesn’t come close. At the very least, it’s a more than worthy follow-up. The spark from WIKY? is still here, as opener “…And Everything Becomes A Blur” charges beneath fleeing drum samples, simmering keys, and noisy acoustic chords. Kline’s vocals burst through the energy and brings all the parts together into a cohesive unit. It’s a double-shot of espresso to kick off the album and maintains the soul of WIKY? - Kline is just adding more muscle to that album’s skeleton. Songs like the breezy retro-rock of “THE MAGIC HOUR IS NOW” and the euphoric “Summer of the Lily Pond” will absolutely become fan favorites, with the former highlighting the warmth of Everything Is Debatable and the latter utilizing its horn section as the perfect compliment to its dizzying guitar patterns.

Hellogoodbye is at its best, however, when it turns down all the outside noise and gets introspective. Kline showed a knack for this early in his career with songs like “Dear Jamie… Sincerely Me” and “Two Weeks in Hawaii,” Kline reaches the apex on Debatable. Armed with just a simple drum track and beautiful piano notes, Kline achieves a level of melancholy and perspective on “I Don’t Worry (As Much As I Should).” The song slowly builds into a surge of emotion and sound, resulting in one of the best songs in the Hellogoodbye discography.

While some listeners may think the album’s title track is a forced entry into the current boom of electronic-tinged indie acts like Passion Pit, M83, and The Naked and Famous, one must remember that Kline has been dabbling in this sort of sound for nearly a decade now - he’s just finally place it against a more mature soundscape. So even though the title track will be accused of pandering to that crowd (and so what? The song is incredibly catchy and captures the Hellogoodbye charm perfectly), the use of electronica and the like are put to more substantial use throughout Everything Is Debatable. Check out the fuzzy undertones of “JUST DON'T LET GO JUST DON'T,” a beautiful slow jam that should be played at all future high school dances. The balance between organic and electronic is executed to perfection here. Or how the synth line in “An External Force” is used just right to drive the overall direction of the track. So yeah, maybe Forrest Kline listened to a lot of Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming while writing this album, but let’s not confuse inspiration for imitation.

If you look up the term “grower” in the dictionary today, you’ll probably see a photo of Everything Is Debatable next to it. After the initial sugar-rush of all the electronics and sampled drums wear off, you’ll begin to realize those songs are more than just catchy numbers, noticing the intricate layers the album contains. Forrest Kline continues to make intelligent pop music for the high-minded listener. Album closer “A Near Death Experience” is another prime example of how Kline can take multiple influences and genres and turn it into something beautiful and stirring. There’s a haunting ambiance that lingers throughout before flaring into a beautiful crescendo of swelling strings, steady strings, and a groovy bass line. Kline’s ear for melody and harmony is matched by few, the reason why Everything Is Debatable is full of unique and pleasing song structures and why Hellogoodbye is still among the indie-pop elite.

8.5/10
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 33
04:32 AM on 11/06/13
#2
AshesOfAHero
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Great review for a great album. It's funny how they went from a guilty pleasure band for me in high school, to now one of my favorite bands that I'd recommend to anyone.
04:38 AM on 11/06/13
#3
MattRM
She didn't turn out to be that cool
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Not to be picky but the album is called Everything Is Debatable, while the song is called (Everything Is) Debatable, the parentheses are only in the song name itself. Strange choice by the band but that's how it is.

Also, if anyone from the band or the record label reads this, I preordered the deluxe LP package and the beanie that was included in that package never arrived. I've emailed the label twice over the past week and a half and gotten no response. I'm kinda irritated.
05:15 AM on 11/06/13
#4
incognitojones
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Even if you weren't big on the electro elements in their early stuff, or don't really like the fuzzy vibe here, Forest has been a consistently good song writer on every album they've done. Dude can do whatever he wants musically and I'll probably like the songs.
06:07 AM on 11/06/13
#5
hectorial85
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First album had two songs I dug and they were a big of a guilty pleasure for me but when WIKY? was released I was obsessed. That album resonates with me completely. This one is fantastic too. I've given it a few spins already and it has lasting power with me. Love me some hellogoodbye.
07:26 AM on 11/06/13
#6
Vance Mook
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Definitely a grower, definitely worth the time. Kline knows what he wants and gets it done successfully and consistently..."The Magic Hour is Now" is just fantastic. Great review, completely agree.
07:54 AM on 11/06/13
#7
Benjamin Drake
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"Summer of the Lily Pond," "Just Don't Let Go Just Don't," and "Die Young Die Dumb Not Soon" are my jams.
07:58 AM on 11/06/13
#8
bladerdude360
saved latin. What did you ever do?
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It took a few listens for me to really get behind this, but now I can't stop listening to it. Very catchy and interesting record. Hoping to pick it up on vinyl!
08:24 AM on 11/06/13
#9
Nolessthanblink
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Loved WIKY. Definitely need to scoop this up
08:41 AM on 11/06/13
SmeezyBeezy
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Been listening to this a looot.
09:16 AM on 11/06/13
combatchuckaa
blammo!
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I listened to this for the first time yesterday and I gotta say, I can't figure out how the reviewer is able to compare this album with Would It Kill You? And I mean that in terms of how Everything Is Debatable almost completely lacks the melodic/pop that made WIKY so good. There's maybe 1 song on this that is immediately hummable/catchy. I don't see any comparison between the two albums and while I'm sure a few more listens will help me digest this new one, I'm let down by the lack of GOOD, obvious melodies on this album.
09:31 AM on 11/06/13
Jaytothesyg
The Greatest Generation
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I like this but for me it has nothing on WIKY.

I like the electronic aspects and it definitely is a really cool album. The title track should be a hit
09:40 AM on 11/06/13
Spencer Control
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I didn't enjoy this too much. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't too catchy or engaging, especially when compared to WIKY?.
10:01 AM on 11/06/13
parkerxcore
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Not to be picky but the album is called Everything Is Debatable, while the song is called (Everything Is) Debatable, the parentheses are only in the song name itself. Strange choice by the band but that's how it is.

Also, if anyone from the band or the record label reads this, I preordered the deluxe LP package and the beanie that was included in that package never arrived. I've emailed the label twice over the past week and a half and gotten no response. I'm kinda irritated.

Contact Fearless Records Merch Coordinator. His information can be found on their website. He was able to get me my download code, and update me on my ordered vinyl. Good luck!
11:33 AM on 11/06/13
Benjamin Drake
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I'd agree that most of these songs aren't as catchy as WIKY, but I still think it's very well-written and enjoyable, and contains a fair number of catchy songs (like the ones I listed above).
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