To kick off their first headlining tour, Philadelphia-based pop punk band Grayscale released their sophomore album with Fearless Records, titled “Nella Vita,” on Sept. 6. While exploring life’s idyllic and dismal tales, the album effectively mixes genres with pop tunes and darker lyrics.
The opening track, “Just Right,” has an upbeat drum track that tells a story of love and nostalgia. With intimate lyrics like “You were the light in my dark / My borealis, my distant / beach, lit up in silver sun” contrasting the bittersweet nostalgia of “I’d give it all just to / feel that alive again … / … I’d die in your arms / and it’d be just right,” Grayscale sets the mood for the rest of the album.
The second track jumps right into the blues with “Baby Blue,” a cheery tune about saying goodbye to someone after years of not speaking to each other. Lead vocalist Collin Walsh shared the meaning behind the song with Rock Sound.
“It is about regret and realizing in the moment that what kept you apart was dumb and wasn’t worth the exile of one another,” Walsh said.
While the band’s sound has progressed and changed from the heavier riffs of their first album “Adornment,” their lyrics have also proven to get better over time. The figurative language in the second verse paints an image when Walsh sings, “I brought you flowers for / your fluorescent night skies / Across blanket seas, I’m / sitting right by your side.”
“In Violet,” the third track and one of their most popular singles, explores the topic of grief but with a different approach. The pre-chorus goes “I’m sick of funeral black / So when I don’t come back / I want you to celebrate, / sing and laugh” and transitions into a colorful chorus with “Bury me in violet / Smile for me when / set me free / Dance the pain, away.”
“When I die, I want people to celebrate my life and enjoy each other’s togetherness, rather than mourn my death in a miserable way,” Walsh said to Popcrush about “In Violet.” “I’ve dealt with a lot of loss and long episodes of grief the past couple of years, and it made me realize how much it can wear on you.”
Despite the band being called Grayscale, Walsh said in a Reddit Q&A that the frequent use of color in his writing is a way for him to express himself.
Grayscale provides commentary on our generation with “YOUNG,” citing how disconnected we are with each other and how we should do better about being a community that supports each other. With lyrics like “Sorry eyes, said you’d / rather stay asleep, cause / your semblance of reality is better in your dreams,” Walsh refers to how it’s easier to escape a bleak reality than accept it and try to turn it around.
Opening with a funky riff that’s sure to get you on the dance floor, “In My Arms” is a song about someone trying to get over addiction.
“You’ll notice the lyrics get more and more desperate as the song progresses; that was intentional,” Walsh said.
The album ends on a sad, but fulfilling, note in the heartfelt “Tommy’s Song.” In the Reddit Q&A, Walsh explains that the song is about his cousin who took his own life at the age of 20. He wrote the song two days after his cousin’s death and didn’t open the lyric sheet until the band was ready to record. The song starts with a gentle piano and as it progresses through the heartache, ending with a harmonizing chorus.
Overall, “Nella Vita” adds new sounds to Grayscale’s repertoire as it captures life’s diverse experiences. It’s a masterpiece from start to finish, and it’s the kind of album you’ll want to dance to, with tears streaming down your face.
Brandon Barzola is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.