'mama’s boy' Shows A Side Of LANY We've Never Seen Before
LANY, the all-American indie-pop trio based in California, is a band that I’ve followed very closely over the years. Paul Jason Klein, Les Priest, and Jake Goss just know how to put complex feelings of love, heartbreak, and sadness into the simplest of words, wrapped in glorious synth-pop that you could leave on for hours. I listened to them so much that without knowing it, their music became the soundtrack to different points in my life.
Their self-titled debut album serenaded my college years with their dreamy California anthems, making me feel like I was in my own coming-of-age movie. Their sophomore album Malibu Nights helped me bawl my eyes out as I navigated what I thought was heartbreak at the time. With the recent release of their third studio album mama’s boy, I couldn’t wait to see what parts of my life they’d be perfectly narrating this time around.
mama’s boy is made up of 14 tracks that take you through different aspects of being human - love, nostalgia, anxiety, and everything in between. I recently got the chance to talk to frontman Paul Jason Klein for a MYXclusive interview (Thank you, MCA Music!) and he told me, “The challenge for me with mama’s boy was to be equally transparent and vulnerable about something outside of heartbreak.”
He instantly clarified that unlike Malibu Nights which was solely about heartbreak, the new album is far from it. Although mama’s boy still has songs like “you!” and “heart won’t let me” that revolve around the experience of romantic love, it captures waaaaay more than that.
From the get-go, the album stands out thematically from all of their previous work. We’re used to their bops that transport us to the dreamy West Coast. But for mama’s boy, they take us back to their hometowns. “Oklahoma, it made a man out of me,” Paul sings on “cowboy in la” as he pays homage to his Southern roots. He also sings, “You know the house I grew up in, you wouldn’t knock, you’d just walk in,” on “anything 4 u,” obviously referencing his home and heritage.
With songs that nod to their roots in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri, we see that LANY has grown from singing about love and heartbreak to exploring all the nuances of human experience. In “i still talk to jesus,” Paul looks back at his church upbringing and how he may have tainted his relationship with his god with some things he’s done in his life. “You might not believe it, but I still talk to Jesus,” he sings with a gospel choir. With this track, we are easily able to imagine Sundays at church and looking up at stained glass, just as he used to do when he was growing up.
One of my personal favorites from mama’s boy has got to be “if this is the last time,” a family love letter that reminds us to cherish our moments with our parents and loved ones before it’s too late. LANY has always known how to tug at our heartstrings when talking about love and heartbreak but they really took it to the next level with this track. Losing a loved one is something none of us ever want to experience but we all know will eventually happen one day. Through a light and acoustic song that eventually turns heavier with drums and heavy guitar later on, LANY reminds us that our time with loved ones has always been borrowed so we must treat every moment as if it were the last.
As I’m writing this, I slowly start to realize that mama’s boy has perfectly encapsulated a lot of my feelings as a 20-something year old trying to go through the ups and downs of adult life. Navigating through love, loneliness, anxiety over my parents getting older, and even reevaluating my relationship with my religion have all been part and parcel of my early adult life. Hearing LANY experience these same ups and downs has provided a sense of comfort, reminding all of us that we are not alone in this.
Check out my MYXclusive interview with Paul Klein about LANY's latest album mama's boy below: