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Album Review: Bad Bad Hats’ Psychic Reader

For students at an all male high school, it can be extra difficult to understand the inner workings of the complex female brain. One way to gain a slight understanding of the female brain is to listen to music written and sung by female artists. Bad Bad Hats, an indie rock band from Minneapolis, Minnesota, is one example of a band with a female writer and singer. Bad Bad Hats is based around the writing and vocals of their singer, Kerry Alexander. In 2015, Bad Bad Hats came out with their second studio album titled Psychic Reader. This album contains 10 songs, each with lyrics that get deeper and more impressive every time you listen.

The first song on Psychic Reader is titled “Midway.” This song talks of the thoughts going  through Alexander’s mind while she is sitting in the backseat of a car next to a guy. Apparently the back seat of this car is very quiet, as Alexander mentions how “The words you were not saying nearly filled up the room.” Kerry Alexandra is hoping that this guy will ask her how she is, or at least give her some sort of attention. Alexander isn’t sure how her relationship with this male will continue in the future if things continue on this way. She mentions how “I knew that I’d leave you by the middle of June,” placing a clear date on when she knows she will be over this guy. Alexander also sings about how she wishes that she would’ve kissed this guy. This song has a very soft vibe leading up to the chorus. The chorus, however, is very upbeat and energetic in comparison, creating a very pleasant contrast.

The second song on this album is titled “Shame.” This song focuses on Alexander’s love life. Apparently Alexander has fallen in love with the same individual on more than one occasion. The lyrics to this song play off of the saying “Fool me one, shame on me…” However, Alexander’s lyrics are, “Loved you once, shame on me. Loved you twice, count to three.” Later in the song Kerry Alexander isn’t sure what she feels for this individual anymore. She says that she doesn’t want to be worried about this guy always leaving her, but she also doesn’t want to get used to him never coming around. This song is much faster and guitar-heavy compared to the last song and the rest of the album, proving that Bad Bad Hats has quite the array of talents and sounds.

The third song on this album is titled “Joseph.” The lyrics of this song seem to go hand-in-hand with those of “Shame” and “Midway.” In fact, “Joseph” very well could be the name of the individual spoken of in many of the songs on this album. The first line of “Joseph” is “Joseph you didn’t say half the things you wanted to.” This is very similar to the beginning of “Midway” where Alexander talked about how the individual in the back seat wasn’t saying much. Later on in the song she sings “Give me back that night.” Here she again regrets not doing something from a previous night, which could again be referring to missing the opportunity to kiss this guy apparently named Joseph. This song’s tempo is somewhere between the tempos of “Midway” and “Shame,” making it very easy to listen to.

The fourth song on Psychic Reader is titled “Psychic Reader,” which is likely where the name of the album came from. This song again talks about this mysterious individual in Alexander’s life. Alexander apparently has now gone to a Psychic Reader asking them what she is supposed to be with this guy. The Psychic Reader seems to think that they a meant for each other. This is all said in a very soft and seemingly sad tone, however, it picks up in the chorus. The chorus in this song again talks about this guy and Kerry Alexander being with each other, yet, the guy is hesitant. Alexander sings that “it ended too soon when you fought the feeling,” probably referring to this guy not saying the things that Alexander wanted him to say, as she referred to in the past songs.

The fifth song on this album is titled “Fight Song.” This song has a slightly different theme than the rest of the album. This song talks about the end of the relationship instead of that one night from the past. Alexander is singing to about having to stay strong and not think about the past and what could’ve been. In one of the lines she says “Whatever you do, don’t think of what could be.” However, Alexander apparently changes her mind in the chorus, because she says that she isn’t just going to sit back and let it fall apart, but instead is going to “stay and fight.”

The sixth song on this album is titled “Things We Never Say.” This song is one of the few songs on this album that does not have a noticeable tempo change. Instead, this song stays at a very soft and slow tempo throughout the entire song. This song is once again focused on the thoughts of Kerry Alexander. Alexander is still frustrated by the fact that this guy doesn’t realize how much she likes him. This theme is clearly seen through the lyrics, “I wear it ’cause I hate you, ’cause you don’t know what you got.” Although Alexander has admitted that she has loved thus guy twice, she mentions in this song how she has “never said I Love You.'” This song is very tranquil in nature, however, the lyrics hold a lot of emotion in them. The emotional lyrics combined with the feeling in Alexander’s voice could very easily stir up some emotions in the listener as well.

The seventh song on this album is titled “Cruella.” “Cruella” is a very exciting and upbeat song that seems to take place chronologically before the relationship between Alexander and the male (again, possibly “Joseph”). Alexander sings “Boy, I know you’re taken, oh my love’s forsaken, you can make a fool of me.” Here she may be referring to the first time that she fell in love with this guy, as was mentioned in the previous song on the album, “Shame.” “Cruella” is a true work of art with drums being a prominent instrument heard loudly throughout the song. The heavy drums lead perfectly into a very loud and powerful chorus.

The eighth song on this album is titled “Say Nothing.” This song sounds very similar to the other songs on this album with its soft lyrics that lead up to a catchy and powerful chorus. This song is again about the struggles between Alexander and the guy. Alexander says “I always tell you not to leave. You never waste your breath on me.” Alexander is obviously deeply damaged by this relationship, constantly wanting to either commit or stop it all together. In this song, she seems to have decided to finally end things by “saying nothing.” The male in the rest of the songs was the quiet one, but this time it’s her.

The ninth song on this album is titled “All-Nighter.” This is a very slow and emotional song that never picks up, similar to “Things We Never Say.” Here Alexander sings “I stay up all night to see if you’ll write me. A buzzing on my cell phone, a step outside the friend zone.” Here Alexander is singing a much more relatable line about waiting for a text that she’s not sure will ever come. Later in the song Alexander says the very powerful lyrics “Am I dumb, are you mean to me? Is it dumb how much you mean to me?” Alexander is clearly questioning whether or not it is worth staying up and waiting for a message from this guy.

The tenth and final song is titled “Spin.” This song has a very familiar sounding guitar rift with more of Kerry Alexander’s impressive lyrics that follow the tempo perfectly. This song is still about the same guy, finishing off the song with all ten being about the same person. She clearly has very powerful emotions connected with this specific guy. In this song she sings “If you knew that I’m not good enough for you, would you just back out of the driveway until I’m out of view?” Here she could be referring to the guy backing out of their relationship until he no longer cares about her. This song seems to be early in the relationship between these two, as she is singing about “backing out” as a future event yet to happen.

Overall, Bad Bad Hats has a very high quality and unique sound to them, with lyrics that can make you feel exactly what the writer, Kerry Alexander, was feeling at the time. When asked his opinion of Bad Bad Hats and their album Psychic Reader, Evan Fritzke, a former Prep student said, “A powerful part of the Indie scene is the prevalence of female writers and voices. Alexander’s voice compliments the Bad Bad Hats sound better than any other. It has subtlety of emotion required, but she can still power through the choruses, giving the songs the right balance of softness and driving rhythm.”

Therefore, although they are relatively unheard of, Bad Bad Hats is a very unique band with an equally unique sound that cannot be compared to anything. Their album, Psychic Reader, clearly shows an extreme amount of talent. The fact that this is only the second album that Bad Bad Hats has created is even more impressive. Bad Bad Hats will hopefully become a more prominent band as the years go on and their next album comes out.

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