You know when you love something so much you can’t decide whether to gatekeep it or tell the whole world? Well, that’s the effect of BETWEEN FRIENDS. The brother-sister duo of Savannah and Brandon Hudson had their start in 2013, upon making it to the quarterfinals on America’s Got Talent eighth season. Roughly a year later, they emerged as a band: The Heirs. After releasing their one and only EP, Ecliptic, the pair moved on to form their “laptop dream pop project,” BETWEEN FRIENDS. Their third studio album I Love My Girl, She’s My Boy came out this past Aug. 25, telling the story of the siblings' year full of “countless feelings, heartbreak, falling back in love and everything in between,” through alternative pop songs. With features from Bakar, EDEN & Teezo Touchdown, the synth-based indie album marries the relatable adolescent themes of self discovery and unhealthy attachments with the uncertainty of young love and relationships.
The duo told online music encyclopedia, Genius, they wanted to “shock people” with the first song on the album—and they did just that. “Stalker” is an upbeat track full of energy and spirit that brings feelings of obsession and online relationships to words. This song feels like dancing around your room with your best friends in a coming of age film—which is exactly what my friends and I did the first time we heard it. The second track, “Bruise,” was released earlier in the year and easily became the song of the summer. According to Genius, the duo wrote “Bruise” about giving too much to someone that fails to reciprocate. The addictive track depicts the internal scars and bruises accumulated from yearning for someone to reciprocate your desire: “You're bruising up my heart/And I wanna show you/I'll say it like, ‘Please stay, 'cause I really want you to want me.’” The album keeps us in a brutal state of self-reflection with the next two songs, “Haircut (feat. Bakar)” and “Lotto,” which recount changing yourself for the person you love—even when they treat you like crap. The siblings blend a melodic tempo with lyrics about craving validation from someone who is bad to you, highlighting the duality of toxic relationships. “So, I cut my hair/You know I can't go without you/I said it, I'd do it again/If you'd like me to.” These feelings carry to the next track on the album, “Sorry,” an interlude involving an ex lover’s angry voicemail. The heartfelt monologue is equally powerful as it is everything we wish we were strong enough to say to the people that hurt us. The track starts with, “Honestly, this is the third time now that I've f***ing called you, um, and I just need to get a few things off my chest…” The shift from the full of emotion “Sorry,” and the upbeat “What’s up,” is definitely intentional. The sharp contrast portrays the idea of letting go and not caring anymore.
Photo Credit: Connor Cunningham
BETWEEN FRIENDS uses the next seven tracks to capture the timeline of falling for someone, being in a honeymoon stage that feels like it's gonna last forever, and then having it blow up in your face. “Gross interlude” sets the stage for said relationship—“But I'm just a little bit scared of you, baby/I'm just a little bit scared of a broken heart” — bringing to light the fear of letting yourself fall for someone, while “Redlight (feat. Teezo Touchdown)” is about waiting for them to finally notice you and accept your love. With a mix of sweet and angsty sounds, “Smiley”' is an ode to simply being in love with your partner, when their imperfections are perfect to you and you’re on cloud nine—“You're like a song I can't resist/I can't believe you're just for me/I say it all the time.” Arguably the best and most popular track on the album, “Self destruct,” is about overthinking what the relationship could’ve been, even though you know it had to end. The song has a raw sound that gives listeners a glimpse into the pain of a breakup and seeing “your person” with someone else. We find some closure in the semifinal track, “Bb (feat. EDEN),” a song about deciding you want nothing to do with the person that hurt you but knowing that things aren’t really over because you’d let them back if they wanted. “If you fall in love again well I never wanna hear about it/…Baby, we could always try again/If you wanna ride again we could always try it.” The chill techno track wraps up the universal experience of feeling real love and pain for the first time. BETWEEN FRIENDS carries their unique euphoric sound all the way to the final track “I love my girl, she’s my boy,” which is an ode to the album name itself. Inspired by their parents’ Fleetwood Mac albums, the siblings truly complete their album with an elaborate and intrinsic transportation to the 90s. The personal references to their childhood and the playful, video game-like music of the song make it the perfect, sweet finish to the group's latest album.
With their first EP, we just need some time together, Savannah and Brandon established themselves as talented contenders in the industry—encapsulating the emotions and experiences of being a teenager in confining suburbia. Yet, with I Love My Girl, She’s My Boy, the pair has truly proven themselves with an electric and fearless sound that was meticulously produced. They have created a dreamy visual universe for their listeners with a nostalgic landscape and their most confessional lyrics yet. With hints of techno, indie rock and R&B to complement the intentional range of vocals between the tracks, BETWEEN FRIENDS effortlessly transforms our adolescent experiences into songs, making their album as addicting as it is painfully relatable.
Salma Benchekroun is a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences.