TikTok has been quite the catalyst for numerous music careers over the past year and a half. Avenue Beat, a Nashville-based girl band made of Savana Santos, Sami Bearden, and Sam Backoff, found booming success on the app after releasing “F2020,” which took on the pessimistic attitude the entirety of Gen Z was feeling when the pandemic hit. On TikTok, the sound inspired over 300 thousand videos, and Avenue Beat’s own video received over 17 million views. The band followed their mainstream success with the female-empowering “WOMAN” and then radio silence. After months of absence, it was revealed that member Sami Bearden left the group. The end result is their first and last album, a bittersweet collection of brutal relatability, attention-grabbing harmonies, and forthright songwriting that captures the early 20s
The LP opens with three pre-release singles including their biggest hit, “F2020” and “WOMAN.” The third number, “i don’t really like your boyfriend,” was released in the spring of 2020 and reads like a pep talk to your best friend who’s dating a jerk. The girls sing, “Here’s a solid reason why he’s actually the worst / You can’t get trashed at a party without checking with him first / And he says it’s cause he’s worried ‘cause the world is filled with creeps / But he’s really just projecting his own insecurities, yeah.”
What follows is “rock in outer space:” A reminder to listeners to take a step back and calm down over little, petty things. Just like “F2020,” the track seems to be an anthem for young adults navigating the unpredictable world as they sing, “We are literally floatin’ on a rock in outer space / When I think about that thought it really puts me in my place like / Why waste a second upset and obsessin’ ‘bout every little mistake / When we could just roll and be chill and let go and just know that at the end of the day that none of it matter / None of it matters.” It has a smooth, R&B flavor with quirky songwriting; there’s even a soft laugh that can be heard at the end of the first chorus. It was also co-produced with Julian Bunetta who has worked with One Direction, Fifth Harmony, and Rita Ora.
Track seven is the acoustic, stripped-down “new strangers” that perfectly details the pain that comes with the growing distance between friends. “new strangers” stands out because it doesn’t have a pop flare like the songs that precede it; it’s simply gorgeous harmonies parallel to an acoustic guitar. Despite the short runtime, it gets its message across as a pierce to the heart with intimate, descriptive lyricism. Santos, the group’s lead vocal, sings about inside jokes, aimless drives, and birthday parties. In the first verse, she sings about a green couch where they’d sit and talk about movies and share memories. In the second verse it comes full circle but this time with growing pains as she questions, “Would your mom’s house still have that green couch in it? / Would we reminisce for more than a minute? / Or would we find out we’re just too different now?”
On the last half of the record, the girls seem to address the elephant in the room: one member leaving. The songwriting credits drop a name and the lyricism becomes blatantly direct. “different” opens with the lines, “Damn, now we gotta be one of those bands / That gotta make a post to all of their fans / It’s like all good things gotta end / We still friends.” Track 11, “happy for you” offers the same idea as they sing the line, “I hate that I have to be happy for you.” Avenue Beat does a great job of telling the story of what happened through their words. They’re truthful, they don’t shy away from what they experienced instead of pushing it under the rug and that takes bravery.
The final number, “this is goodbye,” acts as the calm after the storm; the feeling that enters after the anger wears off, and the awful sadness creeps in. The lyrics are tragic but the harmonies are blissfully stunning. The guitar strums are somber and slow as the band grieves while saying goodbye to their pasts as well as their possible future. They sing, “Goodbye to what I thought was my future / Goodbye to eight years of my past / To the nights with the band, lookin’ out at the fans / And the lights thinkin’ ‘damn, what a view,’ / This is goodbye to a lot more than you.”
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