Over the years, PWR BTTM have earned themselves a novella’s worth of praise from this site. Throughout that time, like every great band tends to, they’ve grown considerably better and have managed to fearlessly push themselves in new, unexpected directions. Pageant, by all accounts, is the band’s boldest statement yet and it’s anchored by songs like “LOL”, which may just be their career highlight. While all of PWR BTTM’s songs have a considerable amount of merit, it’s when they’re at their most vulnerable and frail that the impact deepens.
As great and as necessary as their triumphant songs are, the wounded honesty in songs like “LOL” have the kind of vitality that can legitimately save lives. Judging from a handful of stories, reactions, and confessions that the band’s music has prompted from their listeners, that sentiment’s not as hyperbolic as one might think. In this particular case, Ben Hopkins turns the knife inward and offers up an exacting, incisive take on their own identity and the self-discovery that defined that path.
The composition itself ranks among the most audacious of the band’s career, making room for everything from a tasteful horn chart to operatic backing vocals, while Hopkins delivers a deeply felt vocal. “LOL” culminates in a cathartic final sequence that may be the heaviest thing the band’s ever recorded, lending an already-powerful moment even more weight. “LOL” proves the band’s ready and willing to keep moving forward and at the end of the day, there’s not a lot that’s more important than the kind of commitment that requires. It’s difficult to imagine that there won’t be a devoted army of people offering encouragement at every step, with band and audience locked into a cycle of the kind of compassion, empathy, and understanding that the world desperately needs.
Listen to “LOL” below and pre-orded Pageant from Polyvinyl here.