“If you choose to read the news, you should question everything.”
With the current state of the world irrational and chaotic, Neck Deep’s newest release is a breath of fresh air. An 11-track social commentary on the balance of life’s relentless ups and downs, The Peace and The Panic is the quintessential 2017 pop-punk album. Each track manifests themes of internal struggle, religion, the afterlife, politics, loss and other fervent topics. It’s this raw, authentic lyricism that sets The Peace and The Panic apart from Neck Deep’s previous musical endeavors. There is a clear progression of thought-provoking words and clean instrumentation. You walk away from this album feeling as though you owe it to yourself to live your best life and that you’re never alone in the way you feel.
The album kicks off with “Motion Sickness” as a canorous introduction of bright vocals and guitar riffs – a staple to Neck Deep’s discography. This is where lead vocalist Ben Barlow introduces the question of the afterlife, as he’s “talking to a ghost about where we go when we go.” For fans of the band’s previous full-length release, Life’s Not Out To Get You, this song as well as “Happy Judgement Day” and “The Grand Delusion” will induce similar reactions. Along with upbeat choruses and catchy hooks, these tracks serve as introspective pieces. In a world filled with fake celebrities and “black cats in the window of parliament,” we need to take a step back from what we choose to see as our realities. Because, often, these realities can be harsh, lonely, and dark. And sometimes, as Barlow points out in “Parachute,” it’d much easier to escape it all, but this is never the right option.
The most successful single off the album with 223,148+ views on YouTube the day of its music video release, “In Bloom” stands out amongst the others. With its slower tempo, simple piano riff, and talk of relationship struggles, it’s an easy-listening middle track. Nevertheless it’s a reminder that even “simpler” problems are still problems — and heartbreak is universal. The one and only feature on the album is Sam Carter of Architects on “Don’t Wait.” For fans who are yearning for the hardcore side of Neck Deep, here’s your song. It’s an exposure of the sweet lies the media tells us to prevent us from asking too many questions. So, hey, everyone listening to The Peace and The Panic: ask your questions. Be curious. Open your mind to the media you choose to internalize. Use the voice you’ve been given. And cultivate your life into a positive one whenever and wherever you can.
If the first half of the album made you think, the second half will break your heart. “Critical Mistake” and “Heavy Lies” are more on the pop side and are all about the complications of love, but it’s the next few tracks that truly show Neck Deep’s depth. “Wish You Were Here” is Barlow reminiscing on a friend who passed away from a car accident. It’s a slow, acoustic track where he notes all the memories they made together and how he can’t help but feel like “it should’ve been him.” Though, the most intense moment on the album comes in “19 Seventy Sumthin’.” As a tribute to his father (who tragically passed away last year) and family, Barlow tells the story of his parents falling in love and creating a life together. In this song and throughout the album, he comments on how life is short and we shouldn’t waste it on menial worries. And the final track brings that message home.
“Where Do We Go When We Go” (hint: remember the lyric in the first track?) was the first single off the record and starts off with children’s vocals singing a slightly modified version of “Rain, Rain, Go Away.” Though a perfectly melodic pop-punk track, it’s the message that serves as an important album summary. It’s easy to let life pass you by and leave you wondering what should’ve been. We get so caught up in the things that don’t matter, we let life knock us down. But it’s important to know that you’re never alone in the way you feel because somebody, somewhere, has been through what you’ve been through. Maybe not to the same extent and maybe not in the same way. But you have people who will be there for you through the ups and downs, no matter what. You are capable of creating a life filled with happiness, ease, and passion. The Peace and The Panic is a reminder of that. So, read the news and question everything — and make sure your putting your happiness first, always.
The Peace and The Panic is out tomorrow 8/18! Let us know what you think by pre-ordering your copy here. Make sure to check out Neck Deep’s newest music video for “In Bloom,” as well as the newly announced 2018 NA + Canada tour dates below:
See your date? Buy your tickets now because this tour will surely sell out quick!