Images from Why Don’t We
After two years since their debut album 8 Letters, Why Don’t We return with the release of their new album The Good Times And The Bad Ones on January 15, 2020. Since their debut album the band has released many singles that began gaining huge traction. Why Don’t We consists of five members: Jonah Marais, Corbyn Besson, Daniel Seavey, Jack Avery, and Zach Herron. Since the release of 8 Letters, the band reinvented themselves by adding instruments to their act. Each member is extremely talented and as a collective they can play twenty-five instruments. Since their debut in 2016, Why Don’t We has amassed over 3 billion global streams, two RIAA Platinum-certified singles, four RIAA Gold-Certified singles, and many more successes. This is the first album of its kind from the band as it is fully written and produced by the boys themselves. With the release of The Good Times And The Bad Ones, the band proves to be only going up.
The album begins with a rock anthem called “Fallin’ (Adrenaline)”. The band showcases their new sound with this song, getting listeners ready to embark on The Good Times And The Bad Ones as a whole work. This track is the debut single from the new album with a focus on jumping into a relationship and seeing where it goes. Simply listening to the song provides listeners with knowledge of Why Don’t We’s influences; however, this image becomes clearer in the music video as the band pays tribute to Queen. The music video for “Fallin’ (Adrenaline)” encompasses the rock star image of the band as they all are seen playing instruments for the first time ever in one of their music videos.
Continuing on to the second track on the new album, “Slow Down.” As their third single from the album, “Slow Down” encompasses a summer feel-good song. While the guitar melody encompasses a jazzy punch line, the lyrics tell the need for a breath in a relationship. “Slow Down” is an answer to the original call of “Fallin’ (Adrenaline).” The band uses their second track to move from the rush of a new relationship to the raw moment when one realizes the need for a change in pace. The music video proved that it’s not intended to be a sad song. The boys can be seen driving with the top down through the streets of California as they sing of being in need of a “California-cation.”
The second single released by Why Don’t We is titled “Lotus Inn.” This song lyrically expresses the moment when you meet someone and don’t want to forget the initial meeting. The accompanying music to this track begins with the guitars playing a ringing of chords. These chords are suspended throughout the entire song. During the pre-chorus, the drums come in with small, fast pace beats building suspense into the chorus. The music video for this track shows Marais going through the night on replay. A special drink allows him to do this. He goes through the night with the other band members as he tries to get the girl. Why Don’t We add in their own bits of humor to the video truly making it feel like it is reality and not simply a music video. The video gives viewers a nostalgic feeling of being able to go to bars and have a fun night out. Overall “Lotus Inn” is a fun single that has background riffs that emanate a bit of a brassy tone to them.
“Be Myself” is the most personal song on the album. Why Don’t We uses this track as a confessional and outlet for their anxiety. This song contains lyrics telling of self-doubt, worry, struggles with image, and overall, the suffocation that one may feel in the world today. Not only does this song show the band stripped down to the core, but it provides fans with bridge from their personal struggles to that of the band. Marais, Besson, Seavey, Avery, and Herron created a ballad that provides comfort to the ears of whoever listens. “Be Myself” begins with a country-esque melody strummed on the guitar which is an entirely new sound for Why Don’t We. This simple strum continues throughout the entire track to show the rawness and honesty of the song.
Transitioning from the personal hymn of “Be Myself”, the next track is an upbeat feel-good song that will have you yearning for a concert so that you can sing it back to the artist. Just by the title, “Love Song” may not seem like a song that you want to dance to, but Why Don’t We transforms the classic love song to turn it into a happy-go-lucky track you can’t help but dance to. The band uses a steady beat and suspended high notes in the lyrical chorus to showcase the essence of a positive love song rather than a sad one. “Love Song” includes sweet lyrics like “My whole life changed” and “I want to see the whole world with you baby” backed by a heavy beat. The boys continue to showcase they not only successfully reinvented their personal sound, but are challenging the stereotypical, slow sound usually emanating from a love song.
The sixth track on the album is titled “Grey.” This song gives a somber transition from falling in love with “Love Song” to then losing that love. The band is backed by an orchestra to bring true emotion to the surface. The simple background of the piano and strings is a sound most artists do not use in current genres, setting Why Don’t We aside from the commercial sound. While listening to this song you almost forget the rock background the band showcased at the beginning of the album. Once again, the boys get personal with the lyrics showing that even they are prone to heartbreak. With lyrics like “Tears and slamming doors,” “You don’t want me no more,” and “I’m the one to blame,” they accept their faults in the relationship on their journey of coping with heartbreak. Easy to say this is the next track to be added to every sad playlist.
The next song “For You” gives off a different sound from the previously heard tracks. The band keeps it light with snaps throughout the song to keep a beat going. While this song brings the boys EDM side to light with an echoing chorus of the line “I’ll be there for you.” The rest of the lyrics are transformative as the topic of the lyrics encompass always being there for the person that you had a relationship with. As the band challenges their sound, they seek to challenge already made top hits by providing a rebirth to the genres that influence them. Why Don’t We toys with the idea that while it may be best to move on those feelings still stick. The fast-paced second verse sticks out in “For You” as the highest peak of the track that I would put on loop.
“I’ll Be Okay” is arguably the one song that ties the album together in more ways than one. Not only is the album title taken from the lyrics of this track, but the song is a tie between all the other songs. The first verse of “I’ll Be Okay” is fast-paced while the rest of the track is steadier. The boys mixed their styles into one song. While we hear slow tracks, fast-paced, tracks, and rock tracks featured across the album, “I’ll Be Okay” is a mixture of all these styles. Why Don’t We add in another personal element to the album via the short voice memo at the end of the song. This shows a raw reaction to the making of the song by the band member, giving fans an inside look into what this body of work means to them.
The ninth track on the album is called “Look At Me.” This song is completely out of Why Don’t We’s usual realm. The track opens with a sample of the Joker laughing and saying, “Look at me” in a demonic way. This sets the tone for the song. The boys prove to listeners that they are growing up and maturing with not only their sound but also their lyrics. This is a risqué track from the boys that gets personal in a whole new way. It details a part of their lives that artists do not usually put out into the open. The beat in the song is accompanied by little triangle rings to add light to a song that otherwise sounds spooky.
The last song on the album is called “Stay.” It begins with a dreamy opening of one voice before the beat drop. The lyrics tell of wanted that person that you once loved to ultimately stay even if it did not end well. Why Don’t We ends their album right with the vocals starting low and moving into the upper register. This song is sure to get stuck in your head and leave you wanting to replay the entire album.
Listen to The Good Times And The Bad Ones here.