By Caleb Stanislaw
I’m getting completely lost in Manuel Bazaldua’s band Bummer Friend. Their new single “Fear the Future” feels hollow, defeated, and sad, but in a good way. Part of a summer series of monthly singles-releases, “Fear the Future” laments love lost from deep in the bottom of a well of sadness. The listener communes with pain and exertion as Bazaldua removes the carapace of youthful delusion: “Our souls have grown weary…I’ve washed away my teenage skin.” As if to reassure himself, the moaning refrain, “I won’t fear the future,” invokes the rocking, crying motion of teenage heart-break. I nearly started crying in my coffee as the memory of fledgling feelings of love–and all that wasted energy–percolated in my non-conscious emotional brain.
As if nothing could be worse, Bazaldua redlines to the epitome of heart-wrenching on EP Black Lodge (May, 2018) in “Two Weeks (Of Lovemaking),” drawing out the title line in a refrain that aches, that misses someone, that strains, all at the same time. You can feel the desperate breath, the empty arms, and the disbelief of loss; in this eulogy to a fantasy, understanding that infatuation is not love comes not as a revelation, but as realization. Dude, it’s deep, and it’s delightfully human.
I didn’t know that sad could feel so good. Oddly fulfilling, Bummer Friend sounds great through headphones, but I truly can’t wait to catch this band live. I wish these songs were around when I was seventeen. There is a familiarity here. Bummer Friend sounds like a memory and feels like, well, that downer friend that you can’t help but love. Society screams “be happy!” at us all of the time–it’s nice to hear real people revel and find a kind of joy in being sad. Check out Bummer Friend. Who knows? Maybe you’ll learn something about yourself.