Cassedee Pope is set to jump on the last cross country run of the Vans Warped Tour this week. Before her career as a country music phenomenon, she was the charismatic vocalist for Florida pop-punkers Hey Monday! To celebrate we thought it was only right to look back on the utter brilliance that was the band's debut album.
The best albums help capture the atmosphere of the time that they were recorded. Becoming a bottled moment that when opened transports you back to a different period altogether. Take 2008 for example. A time when it felt like summer would never end. Positivity and joy coursed through the veins of everybody who lived through it. It was a time when anything felt possible and there’s one album that encapsulated that feeling better than any other.
The thing that makes Hey Monday’s first and only album so special is how utterly vibrant it is without making things complicated. No fancy bells and whistles, no weird time signatures or chord progressions and not a hint of pretention in sight, it’s an album that takes things back to basics and does it better than anyone else. Chords that feel like bubblegum kisses grazing your cheeks, Cassadee Pope’s gorgeous vocals casting an almost pink cloud over everything and songs focusing on the sheer thrills of love and life. Throw it all in a shaker with plenty of ice, give it a whack about and you have a sticky sweet cocktail that tastes even better with every sugar coated sip you take.
It really is the lyricism of ‘Hey Monday’ that makes it such an iconic and memorable listen. We all remember the first time that we felt love coursing through our bodies. When you looked at someone and the words for how you felt about them were impossible to come by and you could only babble and go total gooey eyed. That rush of blood to the head you felt when lips met for the first time or that smile that crept across your face as they reached for your hand while you were walking side by side. The band managed to encapsulate those emotions better than anyone else. The cutesy storytelling of ‘Obvious’, the beautifully heartfelt acoustics of ‘Six Months’, the reckless abandon of ‘Run, Don’t Walk’. The dizzying, overwhelming, batshit feeling of falling head over heels in sharp 3 minute chunks that still have the ability to transport you back to that first time no matter where you are now.
It’s this vivid take on love that makes heartbreak even more visceral. Enter ‘Candles’, a suckerpunch to the gut littered with grand strings, delicate keys and Cassedee’s voice hitting heights that only the most emotionally invested of souls can kick. Just as much as the band can make us feel like you are sitting on a cloud, they can drop you straight back down to earth.
Though it’s not just love that is explored here. ‘Josey’ examines what it’s like trying to find your place in the world and ‘Hurricane Streets’ dips into the idea of leaving all your troubles behind by taking off and never looking back. Across 11 tracks the band touch on every aspect of what getting older feels like. From the highs to the lows, the uncertainties to the big decisions. It’s all here in this soundtrack for a youth that needs reassuring that everything will always work out.
Growing up is difficult. Yet when you have music that shows that you aren’t the only one feeling a certain way it makes the process a little bit easier. What Hey Monday created back in 2008 was a perfect snapshot of adolescence in a time when the sun always seemed to be shining. Though the band has been on hiatus for 7 years and Cassadee has launched an incredible solo country career, the legacy that the band left behind can still be felt reverberating through the alternative scene. Because really, falling in love never goes out of style.
Give 'Hold On Tight' another spin, for nostalgia's sake: