Band of Horses explores humor and loss in new album

Julia Hettiger, Entertainment Editor

American rock band Band of Horses released their fifth studio album, “Why are you OK?” on June 10. Although the album explores different themes and adventures than their previous albums, Band of Horses loses none of its charm through their 12 new songs.

The first song, a seven-minute song combo “Dull Times/The Moon,” starts off with a slow, chilling build-up to the rest of the song. By the time lead singer, Ben Bridwell, lets his voice loose, the hairs on the back of my neck were standing on end. The song itself was a tumultuous joyride and perfect for the beginning of the album.

“Solemn Oath,” the next song on the album, is one of those upbeat sad songs you listen to when you’re thinking about doing something stupid; doing something you know you shouldn’t. Strangely enough, many of the songs on this album are accompanied by scenes from cheap remakes of older movies, including “Star Trek” and “The Exorcist.” While the purpose of this is mostly unclear with this song, “Solemn Oath” really sets the vibe for the rest of the album, and flawlessly leads into the next song, “Hag.”

The satirical fourth song, “Casual Party,” takes place at a party where everyone is trying to act casual, have a good time, but there are other things in their lives that are clearly bothering them. Instead of confronting them, they spend the casual party talking about other things, like their jobs or kids, and even their recreational activities until things get awkward or lame. The video follows the same pattern by showing clips from movies in the background as the lyrics are displayed on the screen.

“In a Drawer” begins with a VHS tape being pushed into a VCR as the singer reminisces, speaking with his grandfather while sitting on his bearskin rug.

The imagery in this song is conflicting, but ultimately exciting. While the lyrics form one picture, the music video flashes back and forth between cowboys and a giant robot lost in a city, along with other images that coincide with the song.

What worked with this song was the simplicity of the story, which talks about someone finding something in a drawer that makes them question whether their significant other really loves them. It doesn’t go much further than that, but the whole idea is enough to set fire to your emotions.

Band of Horses’ talent really shines in “Throw My Mess,” the eighth song on the album. The song sounds like something that’s sung around a campfire, and uses Band of Horses’ unique acoustics to lure you in.

The opening shot of “Whatever, Wherever,” shows Bridwell sitting on the couch with his family as the heartwarming beginning melody of the song plays. Throughout the sweet song, scenes of friendship and familial ties dance on the screen, flashing back and forth from kids playing with their parents and a beagle running in a large yard to the band playing peacefully in their home together. Bridwell sings “Whatever you want, wherever you are,” and it’s obvious he’s singing about his family, including his fellow band mates.

“Country Teen” is a sweet, sing-along-song that exhibits a sort of youth that Band of Horses has, and luckily has failed to lose over the years. The album is finished off with “Barrel” and “Even Still,” which are both satisfying, yet leave you craving for more.

To say “Why Are You Ok?” is a success would be an understatement. With the right mix of humor and emotion, Band of Horses has yet again found a way to use their musical talents to charm the pants off their listeners.

Julia Hettiger may be reached at [email protected]