Album Review: 'Composure' by Real Friends

By Mary Perez

     Summer is stacking up to be busy for Real Friends. The Chicago natives -- along with playing the final Vans Warped Tour -- released their third album, Composure. Following the consistent theme of mental health awareness accompanied by upbeat melodies, Composure continues to build upon the strong foundation the band has built in the rock scene. I was fortunate enough to have the chance to listen to the album before its official release, and it definitely lived up to my expectations.

     The album opens with energetic track “Me First,” a song that speaks about the feeling of not being cared for in the way you deserve to be. Starting the album off with lyrics “I’m at best your second option” is definitely an effective way to capture the listener’s attention on first listen. The song is a strong way to start off the album and a personal favorite.

     “From the Outside” is an upbeat, pop-punk track that can be best described in its chorus, which features a dance-worthy tune to the lyrics, “From the outside/I seem fine/On the inside I'm still sick/The pill's a temporary fix.” It highlights the feelings of hiding how truly destroyed you can feel while still looking happy on the outside. The darker lyrics are intertwined with the energetic rhythm of the drums. It might feel a little dark for a summertime tune, but this song is one of my favorites off the album, and one I will be blasting all summer.

     It’s not hard to visualize how some of the songs, such as “Hear What You Want,” “Stand Steady,” and “Ripcord” would be like in concert: aggressive finger-pointing, screaming the lyrics at the top of your lungs, dancing along to the sound of the guitar riffs and drums. The talent of the band shines through their upbeat tracks that somehow perfectly frame the negative feelings in the lyrics themselves. Utilizing fun guitar melodies that get stuck in your head easily, along with creative verses full of emotions, Composure truly showcases the sounds that their fans know and love.

     Something that has stayed consistent with Real Friends is the clarity of their messages. The stories their songs tell are not hidden under layers of metaphors and symbolism that a casual listener wouldn’t understand. It’s easy to really grasp the main ideas of the album just by listening to the lyrics as they are. The album has four previously released tracks, which provides fans with a fair balance of familiar tunes and newer songs. Overall, Composure, with its honest lyricism and catchy melodies, is a solid album that captures the feelings of hiding one’s true emotions under a facade of being “okay.”