In first listening to “Remain” I couldn’t help but think, “haven’t I heard this song before?”. I have, not in a literal sense of course, but in the sense that it embodies a great deal of what characterized the pop-punk love affair of my early teen years. I assume, dear reader, that you recall these years as fondly as I do. Side bangs, chunky rubber bracelets, the most garish All Time Low T-shirt available at your local Hot Topic. Imagine taking these things, placing them in an air-tight container, and allowing them to ferment for a decade. What we have now is a matured, palatable brew: twentythreenineteen. Everything from the band’s name to the song’s production, lyricism, vocal inflection, and instrumentation fit like a bento box of pop punk/alt rock sensibilities.
And like a bento box, it all comes down to taste. From a technical perspective, “Remain” is an incredibly tight and well-crafted song, especially when considering that twentythreenineteen is still very much in its infancy. From a structural perspective, it’s frustratingly simple. “Remain” is composed of a single verse and chorus that repeat throughout the duration of the three-minute song. The verse additionally serves as both intro and bridge, cleverly camouflaged to appear almost unique in each iteration. I’d hesitate to refer to this as lazy, although the chanting of the chorus “Always looking for a laugh get back on track/ to the meaning of everything/ you’re the only one who will remain” becomes increasingly less impactful by the end of the song.
Suffice it to say, this is simply not the tall glass of water I could see myself reaching for in 2019. While “Remain” represents a refined incarnation of 2000s pop-punk, its insubstantiality leaves much to be desired. This sentiment seems to extend to most of twentythreenineteen’s fledgling discography: solid, well-produced songs that push absolutely no boundaries.
If “Remain” is a good reflection of the band’s forthcoming album XXIIIXIX (yes, this mess of Roman numerals converts to “23” and “19”), I anticipate many will receive it well. At its core, “Remain” is inoffensive, unchallenging, alt-rock that will weasel its way into your ear, as long as you’re not too discerning of a listener.
- Catchy form and lyrics
- Easy to listen to
- Clean, solid production
- Predictable, safe, and unchallenging
- Cliché pop-punk/alt-rock characteristics