By Abigail Connolly
For Spotify users who’ve seen “Midwest Emo” in their top genres, “Sweet Tooth,” Mom Jeans’ third studio album, should be added to the rotation.
The SoCal band debuted at UC Berkeley in early 2014, with guitarist Austin Carango and vocalist Eric Butler teaming up to record and produce their debut EP. Following the success of this recording, Mom Jeans signed with Counter Intuitive Records to release their debut studio album, “Best Buds”, in late 2016. The band’s second album, “Puppy Love”, was released in 2018. The band continued to gain notoriety for partnering with other alternative rock bands, such as Prince Daddy & The Hyena (“***HIDDEN TRACK***”) and Fresno band, Graduating Life (“couldn’t think of a name”).
While previous albums relied heavily on an acoustic and emo sound, “Sweet Tooth” is more reminiscent of early 2000s punk and emo. The lyricism and unique sonic elements Mom Jeans has mastered from the start, remain as strong as ever. “Sweet Tooth” represents a new era for the band as they abandon acoustically accented sounds for a more electronic sound. The 13-track album stays true to the group’s seemingly random naming style with songs like “Hippo In The Water”, “White Trash Millionaire”, “Anime Theme Song” and “Tie Dye Acid Trip”.
One of the best examples of the evolution of Mom Jeans can be found in “Crybaby (On the Phone)”, one of the singles from the album. The song begins with the acoustic sound we’re used to hearing from the band, but quickly transitions into a heavier, more produced sound, the perfect combination of old and new sounds. There’s something about the way Mom Jeans juxtaposes generic lines like “We had it all but you turned and ran/And I’ll never understand/Why are you doing this to me/You really screwed me up” followed immediately by ultra specific and standout lines like “I’ll put all my stuff in the back / Of Brandon’s 2011 Toyota RAV4.” It’s just the right amount of personal and impersonal that makes listeners want to know more about the artists’ story.
Other notable songs on the album include “Luv L8r”, which incorporates a different lyrical and instrumental style from the band. Again, the song goes back to some of the band’s acoustic roots, the deep, soulful vocals that Butler has mastered opens the song. The rapid build-up and crescendo to the softer, more pleading chorus underscore Buter’s vocal ability. The bridge is perhaps the most notable part of the song, with a cadence of spoken words, again with strong lyrics that have a knack for tugging at the heartstrings, “I’ve been stuck inside of constant turmoil / Eventually manifesting in the catastrophic breakdown that has come between you and me…”
This album did not disappoint. The four years between albums had fans eagerly anticipating the content. Mom Jeans did not fail to deliver quality content. Those who were looking for something new from the band will be content with the new production material, while those still looking for the sounds of “Best Buds” and “Puppy Love” will still hear their part. The album features a clean and cohesive track listing, ultimately serving as the perfect comeback for the band.
Image of mom jeans by YouTube