I love the Mowgli’s, but my first relationship with their music was a strange one. “San Francisco” was a great, catchy song that got stuck in my head nonstop (why am I using past tense? It was literally stuck in my head this morning.) but it took me awhile to warm up to the rest of Waiting For The Dawn. Maybe because I first heard it in the dead of winter when it was really hard to warm up to songs like “Clean Light” when the only light I had seen for weeks was from my computer screen or the fireplace, but it took awhile for me to decide how much I absolutely loved the album.
And that is why I think Kids In Love dropped at the perfect time.
Can I set the scene for you? The first hints of summer sun finally beaming down on grass that’s threatening to turn green as we roll the windows down for the first time in…months? Has it been months? Sunglasses on, singing loud, the opening track “You’re Not Alone” reminds us we’ve “been broke, out of love,” but we know that we’re not alone. It’s the perfect song to kick off the season that I’ve only ever really celebrated as the gateway to summer and followed with the cheerful if sometimes repetitive “I’m Good” and the equally happy “Bad Dream” the record really starts you out on the happiest note possible: sometimes things might be bad, but we’re not alone, everything is good, and we’re going to be okay.
I think that’s the thing that I failed to grasp in the initial Mowgli’s record from the first time I heard them, sure I understood that it was happy music and once I listened more I fell completely head over heels for tracks like “Clean Light,” “Time,” and “Hi, Hey There, Hello” but it wasn’t until I blasted Kids In Love with the sun shining and the speakers cranked up as loud as they could go that I really understood what makes The Mowgli’s so special: they’ve figured out how to bottle happiness, and it’s contagious.
The rest of the album flows fairly seamlessly, “What’s Going On” reminds me of some old school Dashboard Confessional tracks (despite the fact that my boyfriend reminded me that The Mowgli’s are, in fact, “The Anti-Dashboard,”) and “Through The Dark” reminds us that they can handle slower paced songs as well as anything else while still keeping up that same optimistic attitude as the other tracks.
The best part of this album, though, is personal for me: once I listen to a record a few times, I am a chronic song-skipper. I never listen to the first 3-4 tracks on Lana Del Rey’s Ultraviolence and I couldn’t tell you the last five songs on Imagine Dragon’s absolutely rocking Smoke & Mirrors, The Mowgli’s manage to do something that few can do and hook me right in the middle of the album. “Whatever Forever” grabs my attention after the slow down of the previous track, “Make It Right” keeps it (and fills me with feelings, you don’t even know), and “Love Me Anyway,” “Shake Me Up,” and “Home To You” are just happy, joyous anthems to love that isn’t perfect but works in its own way…something that I know we all want to relate to.
Toward the very end of the album comes our title track, “Kids In Love,” which stands out to me for a special reason: as someone who yesterday was literally on a swingset in a park and loves kid stuff, this song absolutely exemplifies what it means to be childlike and to have a love that is unafraid, impulsive, and honest. It’s not just about love, it’s about being yourself and who you are and living life with the same optimistic abandon that we did when we were kids, teenagers, or just our younger selves. Optimism is contagious, and by the time “Kids In Love” rolls around, we’re ready to embrace it.
Wrapping up the record, “Sunlight” is a beautiful track that suffers as many do from being shoved behind such an awesome track like “Kids in Love,” but it’s a nice conclusion and a reminder for us to embrace the sunlight and seek it out instead of waiting for it to come back around. Maybe that was my problem all along with the first record and my discovery of The Mowgli’s, winter is not devoid of sunlight, we just need to look harder for it.
All in all, I’ve already listened to Kids In Love about eleventy billion times since its release, and I think that speaks for itself. This is well on track to be one of my favorite albums of the summer and I know I’m going to be thinking of that moment with the sun shining and the windows down every time I listen to any of these songs.
My rating? Four pairs of sunglasses and one night of running across the sand in the dark.
You can listen to Kids In Love on Spotify if you’d like to try before you buy.