At the heart of the existential dread of your mid-20s is a series of misunderstandings — about what makes other people happy, or whether they even are happy, or if trying to make other people happy is ever going to make you happy. At least, that's how songwriter Sonia Sturino of Weakened Friends puts it. "Sometimes, things look good on the outside, but they're not working," she tells NPR Music. "People do something that they think they're supposed to do, when it's not what they should be doing and it doesn't make them happy."
That's how it was for her, Sturino says, which is why the Portland, Maine-based trio named its forthcoming debut album Common Blah. Sturino says she's recently found some happiness — but not before writing Common Blah's 10 tracks of self-deprecating indie-rock. The album is full of heavy feelings, big hooks and screeching guitars (including a guest appearance by J Mascis).
"Blue Again" illuminates the frustrating process of draining your own energy by trying to please others; as Sturino explains, it's a song about "how tempting it can be to just follow suit and do what you think others would want from you, in art, life, careers, politics, etc., and all the insecurities, anxiety and feelings of worthlessness that can come with that." The song sways with a '90s-indebted, fuzzed-out sound, with Sturino's jittery, howled vocals lurching over bassist Annie Hoffman and drummer Cam Jones' stable rhythms. "I tried to be clever / but I've closed all those doors / Anyway, I liked me better when I wasn't so insecure," Sturino sings, her voice creaky with side-eyed bitterness.
Sturino says the video for "Blue Again" is meant to represents her own struggle to shut out self-negating narratives and focus on her own path. It's brought to life with a kind of creepy, vaguely silly visual showcasing a little chaotic, cathartic creative destruction.
Common Blah comes out Oct. 19 on Don Giovanni.