The Interrupters Put Childhood Trauma and Past Hardships On Full Display with New Album In The Wild


4.5 out of 5 stars

The Interrupters new album In The Wild is a pretty good album showcasing the rising champions of ska music with songs that really stand out.

I really like the songs “Anything Was Better,” “In The Mirror” and “The Hard Way” along with a few more, but the album does have some of its own issues, in my humble opinion. I won’t say it’s a bad album at all. It is one of the best of the year. It’s just got a few things that I feel are off.

For example, the whole song “Anything Was Better” is the typical emotion an artist has of escaping their hometown to get out and see the world. The difference here is that lead singer Aimee Allen can bring some of her own personal struggles to the mix.

Now, I don’t know everything about her background, but I do know she is from Missoula, Montana (and briefly lived in Billings) before she left for Hollywood at the age of 18. She also had a rather abusive step-dad and a biological father that left when she was a newborn but later came back to take brief custody of her in high school.

So, when she says, “Anything was better than where I was from,” yeah, I get it. I grew up in Montana and North Dakota with some pretty similar stories, and getting the hell out of there was priority number one after high school for me too.

“Raised By Wolves” similarly reflects on the life story of Allen. I am not totally sure if it is about her mom or dad (or both), but basically she seems to be documenting her time in foster care as being raised by wolves.

The impressive thing about the song is that it shows how she got tougher and learned to fight back against the world at an early age - for better or worse. No one ever wants childhood trauma, but the song does point to a silver lining. 

“In The Mirror” is the adult reckoning song that Allen speaks to her own self-reflection and understanding her mental health and well-being. Anxiety and depression caused from a lonely childhood have long-lasting effects that Allen seems to be comprehending and rectifying as much as she can these days.

My least favorite song on the album is “Kiss The Ground” more for the style of it than anything. It’s more melodic reggae and a bit of a darker sound. Now, to me, this is a bit of a tribute song more than a personally connective song. It seems to me it is more about paying homage to the reggae genre than it is about writing a song that is really “The Interrupters.” So, this one just is not as on point as the rest of the album.

“Jailbird” feels like the absolute most direct Joan Jett influenced song on the album as Allen has mentioned that was her biggest influence. You can 100% tell on this song. It is emphatic, infectious, and rebellious. It also talks about the obsessive-compulsive disorder that she has where she pulls her hair out - known as trichotillomania.

One of my favorite things about the song "Jailbird" was Justin Hawkins' (lead singer of The Darkness) reaction to it where he watched it for one of his sessions either on YouTube or for his Patreon and thought it was awesome. For some reason, I can't find the link or video on the web though.

“The Hard Way” is probably the most rebellious song on the album in the sense that it is a song about basically telling all the haters to “fuck off” (in a VERY polite way). My favorite line of the album comes from this song where Allen says, “They like to say ‘I told you so,’ but I know things they still don’t know.” Amen.

I am not a big fan of “My Heart” either as I kinda feel like this one is heavily influenced by No Doubt (just never got into the poppy punky-ness of that band). It’s definitely got the old 1950’s style of song - which I actually usually like - but for some reason this one just seems again, like a bit of an homage to a style and an influence. Basically, it sounds like a cover song without being one. I will say it is cool that Allen wrote the song about her dog that passed away though. Big ups on that.

That said, without “My Heart” then “Let ‘Em Go” wouldn’t be as affective. This is sort of like the sequel to that song. It also serves as a chain-breaking song from all past hardships and heartbreaks. 

“Burdens” is a pretty soulful song and features vocals from Alex Désert and Greg Lee from Hepcat on the song as well.

“Afterthought” may be the best overall song on the album. It’s got a lot of fun instrumentation and backing vocals and some other rock “tricks” within it that just make it really energetic, and it still speaks to the life struggles as well. In this one, it is Allen talking about her childhood trauma (likely about her stepdad) that tried to break her, but all the people that caused the trauma are just an afterthought or liner note in her history.

If Leonard Cohen was alive today, he may very well believe that “Alien” by The Interrupters is the best song of the year as it is absolutely right up his alley. The backstory is that Allen says she has always felt like an alien having a human experience. A very cool song.

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