When we included the Ratboys on our Most Anticipated Albums of 2020, our decision was based on two reasons. The first is that the Chicago-based band create indie pop-rock that can be best described as morning blissfulness. That is, their music is energizing, making you excited or at least puts a smile on your face. Second, front woman Julia Steiner is not just a great songwriter but a fabulous storyteller. She crafts imaginative tales from any and everything, including her deepest thoughts, the most mundane chores, or something she’s witnessed. In this day and age or autotune and mind-numbing repetition, Steiner is a rare breed and we love her for it. These two elements converge again on their latest single, “I Go Out at Night”.
As expected, the track is deliciously-infectious ear-candy. It starts off warm and inviting with the jangly guitar and titillating rhythms welcoming us in. Steiner’s saccharine vocals then enter the fray, and her first words are amusing yet thought-provoking.
“I just had a thought,
What if I never came home?
I’ll go and get a job,
Uninstalling ’90s payphones.”
As the song continues, Steiner shares with us many different thoughts, which revolve around her own fears and insecurities regarding the future. This is further evidenced when she says, “Sometimes when I’m afraid, I turn on the light.” The lyrics are straightforward and seem obvious, but it is a metaphor for her having an epiphany. After David Sagan’s awesome guitar-driven bridge, she later then sings:
“I… am waking up in the light.
The sun that breaks through the sky.
Photographs fill my mind,
I’m sleeping here for the last time.
The song then ends on a rapturous high note, and you cannot help but smile.
The video and audio links are below. Ratboys’ new album, Printer’s Devil, will be released February 28th via Topshelf Records. Pre-order the LP on Bandcamp. The band consists of Julia Steiner (vocals/guitar), David Sagan (guitar), and friends.
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