These “10 Best” articles must get a lot of clicks, huh? I should probably try one to get more click-shrimp in my weekly ration. So, in honor of their new single, I’ve decided to make a deep dive into Alvvays’ sprawling discography and rank their 10 best songs.
10. Red Planet
This solemn, spacious closer to their legendary self-titled debut steams like a gas giant of the kind self doubt and insecurity of un-reciprocated affection.
9. Next of Kin
A great example of the bouncy, upbeat indie pop with a sinister undetone. Here, Molly recalls a near-relationship by drawing a parallel to someone getting washed away in a river rapid. “It was the life I wanted and I’d hoped for, and now I am left sifting through the leaves.”
This one is the Kerri MacClellan show. Her synth, normally a beautiful tapestry in their cozy fuzzed aesthetic, takes center stage in this late album stunner. Molly repeats “You never get it on the first try” like a mantra. It WORKS both as an encompassing statement on her writings on love, as well as an acknowledgment that you don’t write songs like these by going with your first draft.
7. Ones Who Love You
“When you live on an island, nothing ever falls in place.” Molly wears her coastal childhood on her sleeves, and while it’s easy to lust over the beautiful summers, it’s the abundant storms and the punishing winters that really wear you down into who you are when you leave, if you ever leave the island at all.
6. Atop a Cake
After the bridge, everything cuts out and Molly lays out what might be her most incisive zinger yet; “If everything you say is true, then why do I disagree?” It’s question that cuts to the bones of this one-sided relationship in which “you’d like us on top of a cake, but you won’t let me take a bite.”
5. Adult Diversion
This is the first Alvvays song that I’ve ever heard, and it does a great job of capturing the band at their jangly, propulsive best. It’s a silly, yet somber story of fleeting lust for a stranger, and how we project our needs into people we’ll never actually meet. The melody in the chorus scurrys like someone caught staring too long at a stranger.
4. Archie, Marry Me
This is the HIT. The single. The song you can show to just about anyone and have them singing “Hey! Hey!” By the time the third chorus rolls around. It’s their catchiest, and least cynical song to date, about wishing for appreciation and love without the need for ceremony.
3. Party Police
The first time I heard the line “I cannot decipher conversations in your head” it felt as if my partner wrote that line about me. And it all centers around a direct plea for attention “You don’t have to leave, you can just stay here with me.” Communication is fucking hard, and it’s even harder when you add distractions and anxiety into the mix, just trying to tell somebody that you really like them at a loud party that’s about to get broken up by police. It’s hard to filter out the noise when you can’t tell the difference between clamour and candor.
2. In Undertow
Relationships, at their core, live and die by the routines that build within them, not unlike the tidal currents that form waves crashing on a beach. Molly stretches this metaphor to its breaking point on this song to detail the moment when a relationship breaks, sending all that’s inside hurtling towards the shore, until it gets pulled back out by the undertow. Molly’s repeated lines change just a little every time, telling a lush story that’s accompanied by a sneaky catchy melody, and the band’s best sounding effort to date.
1. The Agency Group
“When you whisper you don’t think of me that way. When I mention you don’t mean that much to me.” Like… FUCK. You could write a goddamn novel centered around those two lines; a direct clash of youthful lust and simultaneous ignorance. And don’t even get me started on the hook that sends it into the stratosphere. It’s a beautiful climax that ruins me every time I hear it, thinking on all the night-have-beens that I never saw, or the ones I may have torpedoed myself to save myself from rejection. And as the words begin to dangle me over an abyss of self-flaggelation, the melodies bring me back to sea level. But those might-have-beens are just memories, and the best thing we can do is let them sting, learn from the pain and be better, so we don’t make the same mistakes again. It’s a perfect microcosm of everything that makes this band so special.