Being a fan of The Summer Set, when I heard about the new album, Stories for Monday, I was thrilled. I haven’t heard anything new since the additional songs to their previous release, Legendary, and just listening to songs like “Accidental Billionaire” and “Slip Away” I could tell their sound was changing and growing more mature.
So this leads us to Stories for Monday, which is crafted wonderfully, it is the prime example of how albums are supposed to be listened to. From Track 1 to the end, telling a story the whole way through. I love how The Summer Set, well, set this one up. All eleven songs take place over the course of a weekend (my perspective is from Friday night to Sunday night/Monday morning.) In addition to that, they all, in their own way, are memories of the band’s teenage years. This shows how much the band has maturated and like they have stated, it took this record to realize their potential and question their break up. Which, if you’re a fan like me, then that was news you were quite happy to hear.
This is my breakdown of the songs and how I think they fit into the “weekend” theme. “Figure Me Out” doesn’t necessarily fit in the weekend to me, but describes the overall vibe of the album and the message they are trying to send.
- “The Night is Young,” “All My Friends” and possibly “Change Your Mind.
- “All Downhill From Here,” “All In” and “Wonder Years.” I think “Change Your Mind could go here too.”
- “When the Party Ends” and “Wasted.”
“Figure Me Out” is the perfect song to introduce the band back to old fans and especially act as a gateway to link new fans to them. The message they send through this song is something I love because listeners can tell they found their sound. They know what they want now and have figured themselves out in order to achieve it.
One of my favorite songs is, “Change Your Mind,” because it reminds me of Legendary era The Summer Set but with the new sound they discovered mixed into it. The part that instantly hooked me is the techno beat in the beginning of the song that spans during the rest and how it blends with the piano and guitars, especially.
“All Downhill From Here” sends a message to me that might be my own thinking but maybe it is shared by others. It seems at this point, people could be doubting the band and this is their response to that. They “feel fine” doing things the way they want to and feel comfortable doing. Examples like not breaking up and making this album all on their own supports my thinking in this aspect.
Listeners who crave that classic feeling of The Summer Set are bound to enjoy “All In,” it is about as fun and feel-good as songs can get. It’s a really nice throwback to have that ‘party’ song that most of their previous albums are comprised of. And it’s definitely catchy as hell, especially the bridge. One listen to it and I already felt myself dancing and shouting the lyrics. If anyone needs a song to lift your spirits, I guarantee this one will do the trick.
The best transition song on the album is for sure, “Wonder Years,” the mood is toned down and the music is less upbeat. It brings out the most mature side of the band and can be really appreciated. This song also holds some of my favorite lyrics of the album, “Promise you’ll remember, don’t you ever change your colors…forever, no surrender, yeah we’re only getting younger always in our wonder years.” In addition, the use of the techno is beautiful; it creates an image of sitting under the stars with someone you love or someone you care about enjoying their presence. It is the epitome of living for the moment and captures that perfectly.
“When the Party Ends,” is when drummer, Jess Bowen really shines. By using less techno effects in this song and letting the rhythm of the drums be shown off was a really smart move.
“Wasted” shows how the album pulled a 180, from “The Night is Young” and the parties of the weekend, to Monday morning. Nothing emphasizes this quite like the bridge. “Turn the lights on, party’s over, maybe someday we’ll never get older.” The band knows what point they are at, they know that their youth wasn’t wasted. They lived how they wanted to and this song shows they are at the level of maturity in their music that they can turn the page on the party life and begin the new chapter in their careers.
Listen after listen, I discover new parts of the songs I missed the times before and each one gets better and better. After thinking that nothing could be better than Legendary, I was pleasantly surprised that this was. This record is so important not only because they found their sound but because it kept a band with so much talent and potential together. This album shows that this is only the beginning for The Summer Set.