A sophomore slump is defined by Lexico.com as “(especially of an athlete or artist) a decline in performance following a successful debut.”
Wallows’ sophomore effort, “Tell Me That It’s Over,” happily does not fall into this slump. The trio has come a long way since their debut album “Nothing Happens” in 2019.
If “Nothing Happens” was about the formation of a romantic relationship and trying to grow from it. “Tell Me That It’s Over” explores the relationship after the honeymoon stage.
Sonically “Tell Me That It’s Over” incorporates a wide array of instruments such as violins, brass, harmonicas(I was surprised by that one), guitars, drums and many more.
“Hard to Believe” takes a nostalgic look back at the singer’s younger years and all the things that were left unsaid. But also accepts that the past is in the past. You can’t do anything about it now, “And I hope you’re happy with the things that you’ve got/And I’ll still remember all the bright parking lots.”
There is a hint of sarcasm in “I Don’t Want to Talk,” but also this honesty. Our vocalist does not want his partner to sugarcoat their relationship, repeating, “So could you tell me that’s it’s over, tell me that it’s over.” He just wants that band-aid ripped off and just wants to know if they are still together or not.
“Tell Me That It’s Over” has a consistent sound that never waivers and is never monotonous.
“At the End of the Day” shows a more vulnerable side to the album. The lyrics deal with wanting something to work, but wondering, can it? But even if it does not work, you hope that person has a good life. The singer does genuinely care about the person he is singing about. If you listen closely, “At the End of the Day” is kind of hopeful for the future no matter what happens. The bridge really drives this point across, “Please, just see/That you are not alone, you are not alone/I’ll never let you go unless you want me to.”
The first thing that came to mind when I first heard “Marvelous” is bouncy. It has this joyful quality to it that hides words that are dealing with trying to open up to someone and trying not to sabotage a good thing that is happening in your life, “I can’t get this done on my own/Build a wall to go crash into/I just want to do right by you.”
“Permanent Price” is just a straightforward love song. There is beauty in its simplicity. It is just two voices, an acoustic guitar and some drums. “Permanent Price” is a change of pace. All the songs I mentioned earlier deal with the uncertainty of romance. The song focus on finding your person and the beginning of making a life together. They can be themselves around each other. Even the title hints at this; what these two people have is permanent. “Cause I hope that we can feel the way we do now for all time.”
“Tell Me That It’s Over” shows a different side to Wallows. A more mature side ready to accept what life gives to them.