You’ve really missed a trick when it comes to loveWolf Alice – The Last Man on Earth
Always seeking what you don’t have, like what you do ain’t enough
The coldest line on ‘Blue Weekend’ is half-whispered by Ellie and her haunting, Godlike vocal. Lonely and devastating, the observation: “you’ve really missed a trick when it comes to love”, arrests immediately as the haunting piano ballad plays out. ‘The Last Man On Earth’ arrived as Wolf Alice’s roaring lead single, their first piece of music since 2017’s ‘Visions of a Life’. Symbolic of Ellie’s ascent from lead-singer to powerful, angelic front-woman, ‘The Last Man On Earth’ builds into a thunderous rapture. To rise above others with everything you have learned about love is to surrender yourself to disappointment. It’s the notion that being ready to love doesn’t mean the other person is. We learn at our own pace. You can shine a light, but this is also a song about human arrogance.
How can I make it ok?Wolf Alice – How Can I Make It Ok?
I just want you to be happy
How can I make it ok?
Nothing else is as important as that to me
Wolf Alice delivered their debut performance of ‘How Can I Make It Ok?’ during Glastonbury’s livestream. There’s a HAIM-like essence to the song’s big chorus. Ellie’s breathtaking, emotive performance surely proved the band are ready to deliver a stunning headline set on the Pyramid Stage in the near future. If 2015’s ‘My Love Is Cool’ was Wolf Alice’s coming-of-age album, then ‘Blue Weekend’ is for every 20-something working through romanticised vices. ‘How Can I Make It Ok?’ is the love song that your therapist warned you about. A friendship or relationship you’d die for. Rowsell sells the feeling of an all-consuming love, passionately wanting happiness for someone else, at the expense of her own: “I just want you to be happy… Nothing else is as important as that to me.” A kind sentiment with a blue undertone. It’s sensible to fear infatuation, but now is not the time for playing it safe: “To live in fear isn’t to live at all.”
As weak as your wordingWolf Alice – Safe From Heartbreak (if you never fall in love)
When you told me you’re leaving
Like you don’t have feelings
Safe from heartbreak if I never fall in love
Following on from riotous festival anthem ‘Smile’, track 5, ‘Safe From Heartbreak (if you never fall in love)’, showcases the sonic and emotional versatility of Wolf Alice. This is where Ellie’s ability to express her emotions in raw and different ways feels most distinct. On ‘Smile’, an angry and unashamed Rowsell defends her ability to wear her heart on her sleeve. “I ain’t ashamed in the fact that I’m sensitive… It serves me better than to swallow in a sedative.” In a softer way, with its folky, happy harmonies, ‘Safe From Heartbreak (if you never fall in love)’ barely conceals its mockery for the weak-hearted. Blue Weekend is not suitable for people who like only safe and familiar things.
And for everything that endsWolf Alice – No Hard Feelings
Something else must begin
No hard feelings, honey
And we both will take the win
On the second verse of the album’s penultimate song, Ellie is heartbroken in a bathtub, listening to Amy Winehouse. But what we learn on Blue Weekend, is that there is only so much heartbreak that the heart can entertain. Turning a bright corner, ‘No Hard Feelings’ is unusually mature for a break up song. One such writer that echoes the sentiment of Blue Weekend and offers an explanation to Ellie’s win, is Andre Aciman.
We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything – what a waste!Andre Aciman
Wolf Alice are set to play their winning album at a number of festivals across the UK and Europe in 2021/22, including a headline performance at Latitude Festival.
Stream ‘Blue Weekend’ in full below.