Edited by Anna Mengani
If you have been following the latest news on new pop punk and rock artists, the band UNWELL might be familiar to you. As of November 17th, 2023, UNWELL released their latest album Trial & Error. It consists of 8 tracks and runs approximately 28 minutes and 25 seconds long. This album is full of a unique mixture of styles and musical textures that you're sure to fall in love with.
The first track on the album is 'Temptations'. To be honest, I typically like their softer music style better but I absolutely enjoy this song. 'Temptations' feels a bit different from the rest of the songs on this album but in a good way. The song has an accompanying music video that was released before the album on September 5. It's chock-full of heavy guitar riffs and intense percussion.
The next track on this album is 'Epiphany.' This is probably one of the first songs off this album that I heard and fell in love with instantly. The lyrics are incredibly relatable and the chorus is extremely catchy. I have a memory from when it was first released where I was doing dishes and used a spoon as a microphone, screaming my little emo heart out to it. The song also has an accompanying music video.
Some of my favorite lyrics from this song reside within the bridge "I used to dream in multicolored schemes but all I see is gray when you're ripping at my seams", it's an ode to the feeling of lifelessness that comes with societal pressure and how often dreamers (those in untraditional roles/careers) get trampled by expectations. Especially creatives and musicians, which I feel was the main demographic for this song, thus using the color reference.
Following 'Epiphany' is a track titled 'Clueless.' I remember when this song first came out while I was graduating from university and relating so closely to the lyrics. More specifically the lyrics "I'm 23 with a degree no job or salary to get me where I wanna be am I the only one
that's scared of what's yet to come" because it spoke to my situation at that time. I felt a little less alone in that moment. The music video song was filmed in a McDonalds I've visited many times over the years and I remember watching it for the first time and going "HEY I KNOW THAT PLACE!" which is always really cool. This song is one of my favorites from their new album.
'Homegrown' is the next song on the album. When I tell you this song is my favorite, I mean it. This song is timeless. The chorus is incredibly catchy and it's the perfect amount of nostalgia and edgy. Not only are the lyrics an ode to any Michigander (myself included) but also an ode to the band's origins. The music video is just as perfect as the song. The band threw just about everything that makes Michigan, Michigan into it. From the sports rivalries to the beadboarded basement walls everything about it screams "I grew up in Michigan." I can almost smell the summer nights at the lake, regrets, and the stale cigarettes in grandma's basement, it's a comfort I never realized I needed. There is a line in this song specifically that calls out to me and it's "Counting change out of our hands." I feel like I should explain this because some of our lovely readers might not know the meaning behind it! If you hold out your hand it looks like the Michigan mitten. If you grew up in Michigan you've likely referred to your location this way. Many locals will point to their location on their hands. Many of us have changed locations as we've gone through life whether that was college or moving to a bigger city but if we stayed within the state we'll often be able to point to where we came from where we've been and where we are now. It's pertinent to our subculture and I love that it's such a thing that it became a lyric.
'Trial and Error' is a little harder than the aforementioned tracks, but that doesn't make it any less stellar. I think my favorite part of this song is the chorus. I know that's kind of cliche but it's true! The melody of it gets stuck in my head and just does something to my dopamine receptors that I can't explain in words. It's so pretty and catchy. If you listen to the lyrics closely they're almost comforting, in a way, to know that we're not alone in how we feel about mistakes we've made.
Following is a song called 'Kinda Sucks!' This song has a similar vibe to 'Epiphany' and 'Clueless.' The lyrics to this song are something I'm sure many of us can relate to. When I say I felt a tinge of pain in my heart when I heard the lyrics "You hate that I'm your son, Just look what I've become. How could I have everything figured out?" not only because I relate to the imposter syndrome that is being the black sheep of the family but also the emotion that comes from behind it when Matt sings is almost gut-wrenching. Conversely the lyrics "I'll never fill shoes I was never meant to
If I had to choose I'd start again" absolutely ripped me to shreds emotionally. This song is everything those of us who feel alienated want to say to people who doubt us and our goals/dreams. Its almost enough to lift that weight off our shoulders and say "Hey we've got this." It's so incredible how music can do that. UNWELL executes it so well too.
Sometimes there needs to be a super emo "in our feels" song and 'Leaves' is no exception. UNWELL bodied this so well. As I'm listening to this song I can visualize the story. I feel like I'm watching two longtime lovers drift apart or two friends who knew they couldn't be together having to separate themselves because they're setting themselves up for failure. It's all so very heartbreaking. The lyrics that stood out to me here are "my hope is shrinking smaller every time you say goodbye oh the loneliness gets harder every time you press decline" It tears me apart because I can feel the pain of drifting that far away from someone you had a deep connection with. That coupled with the strong percussive elements and striking guitar rhythm makes me want to scream and cry the lyrics which makes this a crying on the bathroom floor anthem for sure. This song is incredibly emotional and well-executed.
Every album needs a ballad, and 'Dissociate' is that. The track perfectly showcases Matt's incredible vocals and each one of the band members' talents super well. Another one that tore me to pieces. The lyrics "I know that I keep pushing you away baby I need you even when I'm not okay" drove a knife through my heart. If you've ever loved someone who struggles with mental illness this song hits home really hard. I was able to view the song from both the singer's and the audience's perspective and either way it's incredibly vulnerable and I give mad props to the band for this release. It couldn't have been easy at all. The acoustic-like feel just adds to that vulnerability and I would love to be in a room where this is played live just for the raw emotion that would be present. Incredibly well done.
Overall, I would say that Trial and Error is a stellar release and captures so many different emotions and stories. Not to mention the album art is incredibly stylistic and unique. I would give this album 5/5 stars. There is not a single song I would skip on it.
If you enjoy this album I recommend listening to some of their other songs such as 'Tightrope' and 'Bouquet of Withered Flowers' and staying up to date with their socials!