The Front Bottoms self-titled album does not seem romantic on the surface due to the happy indie folksy vibes. But the record itself is primarily focused around a relationship with someone who has a hold on you.
Throughout we see the breakdown of the relationship but also the infatuation the speaker has with the person in question. Evident in the opening song ‘Flashlight’ it takes on a morbid tone with a major theme focusing on being in a relationship with an addict. This perspective is rarely seen within music, conveying realities of some young relationships with a truthful nature behind it. The speaker reassures their partner that despite their addiction they still love and need them, shown in the lyric “you are still the only thing and everything I need in my life”. However, the song does not have a happy ending, the speaker continues “when I am sad, oh god, I am sad and when I am happy, I am happy” showing life after the relationship. There’s no middle it’s just one extreme emotion to another, perfectly encapsulating what it’s like to end a troubled relationship.
Insecurities of love is an important theme for The Front Bottoms, the best metaphor for the insecurities love causes can be shown in ‘Swimming Pool’ a metaphor for the emotion of love. The lyric “there’s no doubt in my mind that if you could then you would try, to crack my ribcage open and pull my heart right through” is a double entendre. One explanation is the speaker knows deep down their partner will break their heart if they open up, but it also alludes to CPR where one must break someone’s ribcage in order to save them from drowning. Showing two alternatives to opening up to someone as it could rather save the speaker or destroy them.
‘The Beers’ is probably one their best songs, the chorus “and I will remember that summer as the summer I was taking steroids because you like a man with muscles and I like you” is regularly screamed loudly at concerts and is one of the most famous lyrics to come from the band. This lyric though funny has a deeper meaning that a lot of us can relate to; a person changing themselves to feel good enough for a romantic interest. Its unhealthy and shows the toxic side of love that most of us have fallen victim to.
A variety of different relationships are demonstrated and though many tracks feature the insecurities or breakdown of a relationship, there are notable lyrics that can be interpreted to show romance and love. The lyrics “but you look good tonight girlfriend. Can I sleep in your bed and when I crawl out in the morning, can I stay inside your head?” in ‘Father’ show this. The Front Bottoms make you feel a variety of emotions throughout the record and while only a few examples have been mentioned, it is the perfect album for the Valentines season.