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Album Review: LANY ‘Malibu Nights’

The perfect post-breakup album, even if you’ve never experienced heartbreak.

Autumn Miller

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LANY is back and sounding better than ever with their second album, Malibu Nights, released last month.

LANY — an indie pop trio made up of the band’s frontman Paul Joseph Klein (PJK), keyboardist and guitarist Charles Leslie Priest, and drummer Jake Clifford Goss — formed in Los Angeles in 2014 (hence the name LANY, a combination of LA, New York).

The band’s 2015 EP Make Out included “ILYSB” which exploded online with over 8 million views on YouTube and served as my introduction to the band. They released their self-titled debut album last June.

If there’s one thing you need to know about PJK and the band, it’s that they have a recurring theme in their music: sunsets and love.

Along with experiencing love, Malibu Nights makes it clear PJK has for sure experienced some heartbreak. In fact, earlier this year he made an Instagram post following a split with Dua Lipa – pop icon and singer of “New Rules  and deleted his social media, but also announced the release of the first single on their upcoming album, titled “Thru These Tears.”

Being a LANY fan from the start, I was eager to hear what the second album would sound like. My first listen wasn’t what I wanted or expected. Being a Dua Lipa fan, it was obvious all of the songs were surrounded by her and the split from PJK, and since I have never been through a big heartbreak, it was hard to relate.

If you’ve never heard of mere exposure theory, it’s the idea that the more we are exposed to something, the more we tend to like and gravitate towards it. The more I exposed myself to this album and listened to each track individually, it’s clear to see, bad heartbreak can create some really good music.

“Thick and Thin” was the first track on the album and gives it a smooth start. It’s an untraditional breakup song by not being cliche and slow, they managed to turn something negative into a tune I want to dance to all the time.

The next few songs, “Taking Me Back,” “If You See Her,” and “I Don’t Wanna Love You Anymore” give off the same vibe as “Thick and Thin.”

LANY turn the hurt that PJK experienced into groovy tracks that I want to sing along to in the car with my friends. The upbeat and electronic sound is something the band has shown continuously throughout their music shines through on these tracks.

“Thru These Tears” makes it clear that PJK has been through something rough and being the first single released from the album it gives a good insight on what’s to come on the rest of the album. On the day the track released PKJ made an Instagram post saying it was the happiest day of his life, and he dreamed of making music like this. They for sure made some music to be proud of with such a strong start.

LANY takes a different turn with “Run” that I haven’t heard in their music before.  Just a few seconds in, a deep bass comes in and you can tell the band isn’t messing around with this one. I liked that they decided to take a different approach on this by making the song a bit edgier, it adds something unique to the album and it’s unlike the other tracks. Instead of focusing the lyrics on hurting they switched it around by saying “Just make sure you don’t run back to me when you’re done.” Taking a stand on heartache and let go instead of holding on.

The band slows things down with “Let Me Know”, “Valentine’s Day” and “Malibu Nights”. A heartfelt end  in “Thru These Tears” picks back up with the dulcet piano in the closing track, “Malibu Nights.”  LANY has released some slow and sad songs in the past, but nothing like “Malibu Nights”, listening to this makes me feel like I just got my heart broken.  A powerful end to a great and emotional album.

With their quick rise to the top being 36th on the charts and over 6 million monthly Spotify listeners, it’s clear LANY isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Let’s just hope the next album is a little less heavy on the heart.

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Autumn Miller is a junior at the University of Kentucky majoring in Communications and Marketing. After college, she plans to get a job in Public Relations. She has a love for alternative music, concerts, and especially The 1975.

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