By: JoAnn Snavely
TW: Mention of ED, and sexualization
The Regrettes are a 4-piece punk rock band taking the music industry by storm. The LA-based band caught the attention of Warner Bros in 2016 after the iconic release of “A Living Human Girl.” Since then, the Regrettes have been trailblazers for the punk rock genre, by introducing a new era of feminism to the table. Their 2017 debut album Feel Your Feelings Fool had a ‘60s, retro pop-punk aesthetic while opening up a new realm to the primarily male-led punk genre. The following is a breakdown of The Regrettes debut album: Feel Your Feelings Fool.
This album was released in 2016 with the group being as young as 16 at the time (yes, only 16). The quartet consists of lead singer Lydia Knight, Genessa Garriano on guitar, Brooke Dickinson on bass, and Drew Thomsen with the drums. It is an album that was years ahead of its time in its release 4 years ago as it broke down female stereotypes and other subjects that the punk genre had rarely been brave enough to cover. Although, punk is notoriously known for being very openly political and against what society dictates as “normal.” The punk scene is still predominantly male-led with little to no female representation. That was until The Regrettes brought a whole new version of punk-rock that we’d never seen before. They’re changing the way punk works and this album is only the beginning of a very bright future for them.
The first song on their album is all about realizing that they aren’t the one. Every song on the album ties back to the title Feel Your Feelings Fool! and this song perfectly ties back to the title. It starts with the narrator (Lydia Knight) trying to sort out her emotions. Throughout the entire song discusses the guilt that follows when one distinguishes the difference between platonic and romantic feelings. The entire song is almost like Knight’s inner-monologue with Knight asking herself questions about her feelings and then contradicting them by saying that she shouldn’t feel this way. The song opens with the lyrics:
“I know I said that you are cute and said I liked your eyes
But your eyes look too much and mine have looked away”
This is the first time we see the narrator’s conflict after they recognize that they don’t romantically like someone. All of this leads up to the chorus where she finally accepts how she feels;
“I’m really sorry that I have to let you down
Hey, I’m really sorry that I’m turning this around
The things I said before at the time were true
But now the truth has changed, I don’t like you”
Throughout the entirety of the song the narrator is continuously apologizing for having come to this realization until she decides to feel her feelings (pun intended), she finally leaves the song by repeating the lyrics “I don’t like you” over and over, we watch as Knights tone changes until finally, she admits that she doesn’t like them. We see her grow less hesitant in her decision and eventually, she accepts her feelings. What’s so important about this song is because of the role it plays in describing the complexity of being young. We never truly figure out how we feel, and that’s ok. It demonstrates how much questioning she went through and how she blames it on herself until ultimately something changes and she knows that she doesn’t like them. All of this trial and tribulation leads up to her final epiphone, it seems to be such a freeing experience that all she can do is exclaim, “I don’t like you!”
This song is all about telling girls it’s okay to not be perfect. It’s the perfect love song, in the sense that it’s not your typical love song; this one is all about self-love. Each lyric is insanely empowering. I could break down every single lyric if I really wanted to. In a Vice interview, Knight explains the meaning behind this song by explaining “I wrote it at a time when I was feeling a lot of built-up emotions about starting high school, about being in high school… I met so many amazing incredible people, but it really opened my eyes to the insecurity that lives in most teenage girls. It was heartbreaking to be surrounded by it, and to start to really feel it for yourself, too. It’s really scary and weird – having friends with eating disorders and having friends who just don’t treat themselves well and are not nice to their bodies. When you’re around people who are insecure, it makes you more insecure.” This entire song is about the normalization of different female insecurities and the assumptions that have been placed on women forever. Every lyric talks about different preconceived notions that every girl becomes insecure about through her preadolescence. Ultimately, this song emphasizes how all of these insecurities are just parts of being a Living Human Girl. Some of the best lyrics that truly embody this song are:
“I don’t exercise and I don’t read books
So if you want to criticize me, go ahead, take a look
I’m not being bossy, I’m saying how I feel
And I’m not a b***h for stating what is real
I bleed once a month
And sometimes when I shave I get little red bumps
I wear short skirts and sometimes long pants
And I can dress how I want, not looking for a show of hands”
A Living Human Girl is everything self-love should be because at the end of the day, being a living human girl doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you human, no matter what societal standards have to say.
This is the first “love song” on the track, apart from “A Living Human Girl.” Now that Knight has learned to love herself, she’s learning to love someone else. So now Knight is talking about being completely and utterly taken by someone, but this time she knows it’s what she wants. Every lyric is her just trying to ask these questions about this person she is falling for, all to learn more about them. This song is all about being young and in love and all the excitement that goes into it. Knight referred to this song as her “whiny song” because she just wants this person so badly and it’s almost driving her crazy; she just wants them to make that first move. Now it isn’t your usual love song, it’s realistic in the sense that it’s the more desperate part of love. It encaptures how romance works now instead of the old and overused love stories of the past. The entire essence of this song can be found in the lyric;
“Hey now, what’s your name?
You’re really cute and really nice
I think we should go on a date
Oh, hey now! You’ve got it going on
Hey now, you’re like my favorite song
Hey now, what’s your birthday?
Because I read in the book
That my most compatible month is May
Oh, hey now! Do you like my dress?
Hey now, because earlier I looked a mess”
The lyrics show that it’s still the same narrator from the previous two songs because she still has these insecurities and is still contradicting herself. After all, it’s the same person going through different stages of her adolescence. The music video itself is a different story, this ‘60s themed music video is set in a talk show specifically the “Dick Dickey Show.” From the get-go we can see it criticizing the ‘60s culture when Knight meets the host of the show Dick Dickey and they have an extremely uncomfortable interaction, she tells him how big of a fan she is when he says, “I’m a fan of your show, aren’t you a foxy little thing?” Keep in mind at this time Knight is still presumably a minor, this is still the bands’ way of addressing the sexualization of the music industry. Then it shows a group of POC standing outside of the venue, Knight asks if they’re going to be let in when Dickey says, “We just let them in once a month.” This is referring to the racism in the industry and obviously giving a nod towards the civil rights movement of the time. The band plays their song as they all look visibly uncomfortable by remarks made towards them or different issues that were demonstrated previously. This shows their discomfort with these issues in the industry. Then the video closes with them finally deciding to change the things bothering them no matter who it bothered, each member of the band leaves the stage to change what had been bothering them the whole time, with one throwing her wig off, another dancing around the dancefloor, and one letting the POC into the venue. Sticking with the punk motif, they’re criticizing the industry in a creative way. These are just a few notions made in the music video; there are tons of other references made in the video. This song is something completely new for the punk rock scene as it brings a lighthearted ‘60s feel whilst talking about being in love, and it still manages to have a really interesting underlying meaning.
The next track on the album is Hot, this song brings a completely different sentiment to Hey Now. It definitely has a more angsty sound compared to the previous songs on the album. This is more of the band’s typical sound especially compared to their older songs such as Pumpkin and Poor Boy. This song truly encaptures punk in their own way. Hot is Knight’s way of telling off an arrogant person, it’s her way of calling out the superiority complex amongst other people. She’s just over this person and doesn’t see the appeal, to her they quite literally aren’t all that! The entire song just makes you want to get up and dance while feeling empowered. Knight is realizing her self-worth and losing those insecurities from the previous songs. The song’s storyline is all about Knight being pursued (romantically) and she simply isn’t interested. The arrogance of the suitor eventually pushes Knight to her edge, and that’s exactly what this song is about. Knight realizes her worth and that his arrogance is just a facade when she exclaims,
“You think you’ve got a chance, but you’ll never have this dance
You better watch yourself, go ahead and find someone else
To those girls you’re hot like a fire
You are their only desire
But to me you’re nothin’ much
Because I know you’re just a liar”
Seashore is the most popular song off of their debut album, and for good reason! Seashore is geared towards all the misogyny Knight has received in her life especially in reference to the music industry. This song is Lydia’s address to the general public, specifically those who undermined her and her beliefs because of her age. The beginning of the song talks about how she is no longer a little girl, and that she shouldn’t be treated like one. It moves on to talk about her gender and how being a female doesn’t make her any less powerful.
“You’re talkin’ to me like I’m hurt
Well at least I’m not six feet in the dirt
And I’ll still kick your a** even in my skirt
You’re talkin’ to me like a child
But I’m not a helpless baby
Not waitin’ on you to come to save me
I do a lot of stupid stuff but don’t act like you’re so tough
Fight fire with fire and you’ll get burned
Hey I think right about now is your turn
Earplugs won’t save you anymore
They’ll leave you washed up on the seashore”
Knight then sums how people react or judge her for having strong opinions, because for some reason men (primarily those who this song is addressed to) still think that because she’s young or a woman, her opinions aren’t valid or not as important. The music video then brings a whole new meaning to the song. It flips through 5 different periods in which women were oppressed. First, it starts with Knight at a press conference, giving an address, while talking about how she is being treated poorly. It then switches to Knight being in the witch trials, as we see her being on trial and eventually put up at the stake to be burned. The Salem Witch Trials are a good example of a time where women were “punished” for just living. Women were put on trial and many executed because they weren’t “normal.” Then it moves on to the women’s suffrage movement, with a small rally of women pushing for their WELL DESERVED right to vote. It then shows brief sexualization of women before ultimately flipping through different historical clips and flipping through all of these scenes compiled together to create a visually awe-inspiring work of art. Seashore encompasses the feminist movement and is the perfect feminist manifesto for women young and old alike because, say it with me WOMEN AND OUR OPINIONS ARE VALID AND AREN’T TO BE UNDERMINED.
Juicebox baby is all about being young and in love; there’s not too much to it. Knight is feeling like a kid as she’s feeling a bunch of new emotions with her new crush. It’s all about her trying to comprehend her emotions and how it makes her feel. This upbeat song perfectly describes that awkward stage in any relationship where she’s beginning to realize exactly how she feels. This entire album is about accepting her feelings, and this song is one of the first times we truly see her feeling her feelings for what they are. It’s all about the confusion and how it’s almost clouding her vision because love makes sometimes things seem better than they are.
“Juice box baby
My mom tells me I’m lazy
But it’s ’cause you make me hazy
My head’s spinnin’ like crazy
Juice box baby
Got me feelin’ like a lady
Givin’ me these butterflies
All things seem rosy through my eyes”
‘Til Tomorrow is almost like the sequel to Juicebox Baby as it shows Knight growing impatient in her feelings. We see Knight feeling strong feelings (as she did in Juicebox Baby) and her desperation for those feelings to be returned. She’s talking about how this desperation is affecting her and how it is making her want to metaphorically “die” with anticipation. It’s all about her wanting this person to just feel the same way she feels about them.
“Sometimes I wish you looked at me through the same eyes that I looked at you and
Sometimes I wish that I never even saw your perfect face in the first place
Hey, I know that relationships aren’t really your thing but
Not like I’m asking for a diamond ring
‘Cause I don’t know if I’ll live ’til tomorrow
I don’t know if I’ll live ’til tomorrow”
Throughout the song Knight mentions how she doesn’t know if she’ll live ‘til tomorrow. All this represents is her desperation to have these feelings returned to her.
Pale Skin is yet another deep exploration into teenage emotions and how stressful they can be. In the song, Knight is confronting how she feels and how much confusion they’re bringing. Have you ever just wanted to scream? This song is Knight’s version of just letting out a scream but in a very peaceful way. As one of my personal favorites off of the album and in general as it takes these crazy, overwhelming emotions and manages to put them into a somewhat calming song. Knight is exploring these emotions and facing them with the struggles it brings as she is simply navigating adolescence.
“I can barely take it, I want to scream, I want to shout
But there’s nothing coming out
Skin so pale that faded away
There’s a bluebird singing and it makes me smile
Fear is in my brain, is in your brain, making us insane
There’s tears streaming from my eyes streaming from your lies
Let’s just cry together in any weather
Making promises that won’t last forever”
As Knight confronts her feelings, the song’s beat within and of itself speeds up until it eventually becomes a fast-paced, upbeat rock song that you’ll love in any circumstance.
Lacy Loo is the perfect coming of age song with an infectious rhythm and lyrics that perfectly sum up an extremely exciting time during our teenage years. At this point in the album, we’ve seen Knight’s battle to not only learn to love herself, but her journey in accepting her emotions towards other people. Now Knight is in the honeymoon stage of her relationship where she just wants to pack her bags up to run away and explore the world. It’s all about Knight wanting to start her whole new life and change her “identity” because in the moment all that matters is that she is with that person.
“My mama said to forget about you, ow!
We packed our bags to get away
He said, “Babe, this is gonna be easy
We’ll be fine, we’ll be okay
I’ve got a van where we can stay
But I don’t need your maybes
I need someone to dance with me, baby”
Head in the Clouds is the shortest song on the album, as it’s a monologue of sorts. Knight is talking about a negative relationship her friend is in. This is Knight’s struggle to catch the attention of her friend to almost tell her to snap out of it. She’s trying to grasp the attention of her friend to help her out of this relationship because Knight recognizes the danger of the situation her friend is in, even if her friend doesn’t realize it.
“So, my friend kept going on and on the other day
About this a****** that she’s kind of dating
And she puts it all out on the table but he just can’t handle a label
And she feels so bad about wanting something more
That she’s scared she’s gonna get left at the door
And I know he might seem really cool
But I told her, “Just feel your feelings, fool!”
Hey little mama with your head in the clouds
Don’t want to hear my voice so I’ll shout it out loud”
How It Should Be is about being independent as a female, and how you don’t need to be codependent on a relationship to be valid. It talks about the struggle for many young girls, such as Knight herself who struggle to find happiness without a relationship, and this dependency on their boyfriends. This song talks about the danger in that because as a young girl you should be independent and non-reliant on a man for your happiness. It’s not our fault how we feel this need for codependency. It’s been forced down our throats from a young age with the preconceived notion that single women are just unsuccessful or less than, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. This song is the perfect breakup song as it is all about accepting that you don’t need any significant other to be happy, you just need yourself, and until you can learn to love yourself, that’s how it should be.
Lots and lots of girls, they feel so worthless
They depend on him, to make them feel again
I don’t want you ’cause I don’t need you
And I felt today what it’s like when you’re away
I wanna tell you, I still don’t miss you
So just get outta my way and take another sick day”
It’s all about learning your worth and the power your hold within yourself, that power is not dependent on another person.
Picture Perfect is all about the female societal standards, and it depicts society’s version of “the picture-perfect female.” I can not express the power that this song, honestly this album in its entirety, holds. As a female, my whole life I’ve had these beauty standards force-fed to me forever. It shows a short conversation amongst people talking about her and the assumptions people make about this picture-perfect girl. This song is all about describing the assumptions people make about someone they don’t know just because they give off a picture-perfect outside.
“She’s all the things you wish you were but sadly you are not
The girls want to be her and the boys wish they could tap
That chick who is always up to something and isn’t on the map
I heard she doesn’t sweat, I heard she doesn’t drool
She’s the girl that everybody knows is way too cool
When she walks through the halls it’s like a swarm of flies
Nobody can seem to get enough of her green eyes”
Bronze is all about the very-real teenage struggle of losing your best friend as they move on to different friends. It’s a trope that’s been played out forever in coming-of-age movies. Knight feels left in the past, and she’s stuck reminiscing on the past as she feels left behind. Lydia is watching her friend become friends with all of these new people, and she’s beginning to think she could be one of them. This is a struggle every teenage girl goes through; I know I have.
“Hey, I know you’re pretty cool and you got a lot of friends
But I can be a pretty cool girl too
Say that I’m your number one
Well we both know that you have more fun
When you’re runnin’ off with that older funner crew
I want that girl that I knew before to come right back
And knock on my door
She’s my best friend, but I’m not hers
‘Cause she’s got more than she had before”
Ladylike is my favorite song off of this album and one of my all-time favorites in general. It starts off my listing some of the standards females are supposed to uphold.
These things are what women have been told to be our entire lives; we’ve been told if we don’t live up to these standards, we aren’t perfect or worthy. It then moves on to listing assumptions made unto women who aren’t perfect, specifically towards Lydia, it takes the form of “high school gossip.” Knight has openly talked about how surprising it was for her to have been making music while in high school, and the things people said about her. It then just mentions subtle notions females are supposed to live up to with no questions, such as the entitlement of men towards women, the outdated assumptions made towards feminists and the plain and simple hate Lydia has received for just being herself. The worst part about this song’s storyline is the undoubtedly fact that the people making these remarks towards Lydia are mainly the assumptions of females. As women we’ve had these societal norms told to us forever, and the moment we notice someone going against these themes, we are the first ones to jump on someone for their differences.
You Won’t Do/Cold is the final song on the Regrettes debut album. The first part of the song is about how Lydia feels towards her lover, and how differently she acts towards them. Knight has come to this realization that they won’t do, but when confronted by them she becomes completely in love with them. This can foreshadow that ideal of codependency revealed in How It Should Be. It then moves into Cold, this is the continuation of the breakup after Your Won’t Do, and now she is feeling lonely and sad. In an interview with Noisey Knight says, “Cold’ is super personal and very important to me, because I wrote it in the peak of me falling in love for the first time. Everything was just so crazy and confusing and I was trying to make sense of what I was feeling. [This person and I] dated for a long time, and then recently broke up. But I couldn’t be more grateful for that experience… Experiencing falling in love and then heartbreak all in the same year is crazy and intense, but there are going to be a lot of songs that come out of it.” This song is basically the finale of the album as she is finally going through the crazy ups and downs of this relationship that she’s been whirlwinding throughout the album, and now she’s finally out of this relationship and is feeling the final effects of the breakup.
This debut album, written by teens for teens is so open and vulnerable about different struggles that teens encounter. It is an album filled with love, heartbreak, confusion, acceptance, loving yourself, and becoming your own person. All of these struggles that teens have to encounter throughout our teenage years. It is the perfect album for anyone with meanings that dive way below its surface in order to create the perfect story.
Band Site: http://www.theregrettes.com/regrettes