For a lucky few, Valentine’s Day is a holiday for spending time with their partner. For the rest of us suckers, we gorge ourselves on heart-shaped candy, get gifts for our friends, or soak in our lonely bitterness. Luckily, we can now be bitter while listening to Beach Bunny’s new album Honeymoon.
Beach Bunny is an indie band from Chicago. The band includes four members: singer and guitarist Lili Trifilio, guitarist Matt Henkels, Anthony Vaccaro on bass, and Jonathan Alvarado on drums. They are probably best known by most for their song “Prom Queen,” which became popular on TikTok. When talking about the leader, Lili Trifilio, the Chicago Tribune refers to her as “emo Taylor Swift” which I feel is a great comparison when you consider the similar themes and songwriting talent they both have.
The album is nine songs long but about half of the songs were gradually released over the past few months starting with “Dream Boy” which came out at the end of October last year. Like a lot of Beach Bunny’s music, the general vibe is insecurities, heartbreak, and wistful yearning.
Trifilo told Consequence of Sound that the first track “Promises” was “the most honest and vulnerable song on the record” because she wrote it right after a bad break up. She explains that the song is mostly about “feelings of loving someone while simultaneously hating them.” There is also a music video for the song that came out not long before the full album.
“Cuffing Season,” the second song on the album, is a fun, fast track named after the time of year when everyone starts to get into relationships. However, the song itself is more about doubting her relationship and preferring to be alone.
Perhaps my favorite song on the album “April” encapsulates the essence of most of Beach Bunny’s music. It feels sappy and wistful talking about a past relationship that used to feel so important becoming nothing more than memories. Along with that retrospection brings feelings of regret and grief over this point in her life.
The lack of drums or bass on “Rearview” makes it one of the mellower songs on the album until about the last twenty seconds when they finally burst out with the line “You love me, I love you/You don’t love me anymore, I still do.” The pacing of the song mirrors what it’s like to bottle up your feelings until they came out in a rushing, violent burst of emotion. Overall, the song is about insecurity and not feeling good enough to be loved.
“Ms. California” plays off jealousy of this idealized “California girl.” According to Trifilo, “it’s not about deep-set envy but more of an irritated, frustrated anthem of wanting what you can’t have.” In contrast with the upbeat vibe, the music video is pretty chill, switching between the different band members in different innocuous settings. All in all, “Ms. California” is petty in a self-aware way, and it’s less about harboring actual jealousy over another girl than simply feeling frustrated at not being able to get someone’s attention.
Somewhat different from the songs about rejection or yearning for past relationships is “Colorblind,” which instead reflects on ending a toxic on-again, off-again relationship. When compared to the messages in most of their other songs, “Colorblind” stands out to me because the tone is far more assertive; Trifilo knows that she shouldn’t have to put up with people who constantly hurt her and is ready to let go of that relationship.
Similar to “Rearview,” “Racetrack” is also a mellow song about insecurity, but it’s more sleepy and wistful. Trifilo uses the metaphor of love being a race and how she “always wind[s] up in second place.” As the shortest song on Honeymoon, it serves as a quick, soft interlude between the more energetic “Colorblind” and “Dream Boy.”
“Dream Boy” is one of my favorite songs on the album because it’s more upbeat. Rather than being about a specific heartbreak or failed relationship, this song is more of an ode to young love. It pulls on cheesy rom-com aesthetics as well as Trifilo’s love of summer, which is reflected in the “Dream Boy” music video. While it mentions some hesitation about finding “easy love,” ultimately it’s hopeful for whatever a relationship might entail.
Despite the overarching themes of self-doubt and heartbreak, the album ends on a high note with “Cloud 9.” Along with the song is a cute, pastel-colored music video directed and animated by Margaret Bialis. According to Trifilo, it’s “an ode to [her] little snail son Nigel who passed away last year.”
Honeymoon, and Beach Bunny’s music in general, easily connects with the audience because of how simple and relatable the overall themes are. The anxiety, the jealousy, and the wistfulness all find a home in the listener’s heart, turning something so easily relatable into something that feels personal. Again, the reason why their song “Prom Queen” became popular on TikTok is that a lot of people could relate to the pressure of living up to certain beauty standards.
I love Beach Bunny’s music because of its overarching theme of teen angst. Even though the themes of their songs aren’t unique or original in any way, the raw emotion behind the lyrics and the vibrant beat make it feel special anyway. As a review by Rolling Stone puts it, “it’s so genuine and normal, making what could be hand-me-down pop angst feel heartbreakingly new.”