So I love Bruce Springsteen. I love his songs. I love that he’s always writing for the working guy. However, I don’t see myself in a Bruce Springsteen song. I’m not in a union. I’m not going to down to the river. I’m not sweating it down the street in a runaway American dream. I sometimes like to think I’m a Springsteen song, but it’s sometimes like a movie. You think you could be like the characters in a movie, and theoretically, you could, but in your heart, you know that it’s a movie.
So who would have thought that a twenty-something female pop-punk rocker from Melbourne could write songs that made me say, “Yeah, I know what that feels like.”?
Alex Lahey’s debut album, “I Love You Like a Brother” was one of my favorite albums of this past year. I first heard her single “Every Day is the Weekend” on the Current. I dubbed it as my song of the summer of 2017. It’s a song about lovers getting that first taste of a relationship, but still realizing that there are other things in the world that you have to pay attention to, like your job and your family. But in the end, they’re all ok, and you just “ride the wave to shore.”
My favorite song on the album is the title track. It’s got that surf-rock guitar that makes you want to get out of your chair. And how many pop-music songs are about brothers? The two that come to mind are, “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” and “Brothers in Arms” neither of which capture the intricacies of a sibling relationship like Lahey does. Siblings have a unique bond, especially adult siblings. You over your youthful growing pains and you can focus on, you know, being friends. “Clashed like the band, but now we're back stronger/While we're both young yet still a bit older.” The chorus “I love you like a brother, just like I oughta” feels like Lahey’s singing it with a smile to her brother in the crowd.
The song “Backpack” talks about a lover who’s close, but there’s that little bit of distance in the relationship in there that prevents it from becoming something more. Hence the chorus, “It's hard for me to put my arms around you/When your backpack's on.” I also loved the line “Your disorganized perfection is ok with me.” There’s something beautiful about acknowledging your partner’s flaws and still accepting them.
The best art makes you feel many things at once. Lahey made me dance, think, reflect and even be a little bit sad while listening to this album. And I love you Bruce, but Lahey knows me a little bit better than you.