In case you forgot, I didn’t exactly love Barcelona’s EP, Love Me, which the band release earlier this year as part one of a three-part series called The Melodrama. But recently, with fresh ears and some time elapsed since I thought about the new Barcelona sound, I immersed myself in the second EP: Love You.
Love You starts with “Fall in Love,” which features a soft synth sound, some very light auxiliary percussion and a little flare of louder synth, but nothing intrusive. It lulls you into the EP, with easy (albeit not immediately identifiable as frontman Brian Fennell) vocals—and then the drums come in, which sound like very cheesy electronic drums.
The song goes downhill from there. I like the simple vox and synth parts the most, but they can’t outweigh those unpleasant drums and, later on, a guitar riff that’s a bit too repetitive and uses a less-than-appealing tone.
“I Choose You” starts with similar soft synth and Fennell’s vocals, but he pushes the singing a bit more on this song, and it sounds more like him, which I like…until about 30 seconds into the song. At about 30 seconds, the drums come in, and at 37 seconds, you hear a waterfall of chimes. I’m immediately reminded of cheesy ‘80s and ‘90s love songs from boy bands, like “This I Promise You” from Nsync, way back in the day. (I loved the song then, but I was also ten years old. And I think I still like it better than “I Choose You.”)
Cheesy seems to be the theme of this EP, from the awful drums to the overly used sentiments in the lyrical content. The songs sound too similar, even though I understand that each EP is something of a short concept album, creating a fuller concept as a series. I wouldn’t say Love You is worse or better than Love Me, but both showcase a sound gone wrong for a band trying to fit itself into a niche that only serves listeners who want something easy, familiar, and typical—a soundtrack for drama-saturated teenage dramas and terrible “retro” movies.
I miss the old Barcelona.
Read Adrienne’s thoughts on the other EPs in the series: