PINKSHIFT – ” Love Me Forever “

Posted: December 31, 2022 in MUSIC

Baltimore trio Pinkshift are very much at the forefront of that movement. Signed to pop-punk heavyweights Hopeless Records, the trio are smack bang in the middle of a scene infamous for its dominant white-male perspective. They fit in perfectly, while also shaking things up drastically. “Love Me Forever” is the band’s debut album, which arrives after last year’s “Saccharine” EP. Like that release, these 12 songs bristle with raw personal emotion, all within the context of the greater world at large and the various systems in place that have held people of color back—particularly in America—for centuries. 

That’s all conveyed through lyrics about anxiety, depression, insecurity, and heartbreak—to name just a few of the subjects that vocalist Ashrita Kumar tackles across the album. Whether they’re spitting out rageful defiance, as on blistering opener “i’m not crying you’re crying,” or unconvincing, ironic affirmations as on “cherry (we’re all gonna die),” the vocalist packs generations of trauma into their voice, but channels them into their own specific experiences. It’s the same with the sneering animosity of “Trust Fall” (“I really hate you,” Kumar sings over an urgent melody courtesy of guitarist Paul Vallejo and drummer Myron Houngbedji, “but you’re just a mirror of the past”), the breakneck blast of “Burn The Witch” and the stirring riffs of “Cinderella.”

A mix of punk, post-hardcore, grunge, as well as pop—at times, there are undeniable nods to No Doubt at their most visceral here—“Love Me Forever” is a stunning burst of influences and experiences, all of which coalesce in a swirling swathe of anger and injustice, not least on brutal penultimate track “let me drown.” Yet beneath it all, there’s also a real vulnerability, too. Just listen to the lyrics of the title track, or if that’s not obvious enough, “in a breath”—the gentle but powerful piano ballad that slows everything down right in the middle of the record. Regardless of the statement it makes within a racially homogenized scene, this is a phenomenal album. Taking that into account makes it utterly indispensable.

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