With Best Intentions, We Are The In Crowd has matured, while staying true to the energy that made their previous EP so enjoyable. That said, not every song is an uptempo pop-punk track that would have found a comfortable home on that release. This album finds the band slowing down for a few minutes, showing a softer side, and bringing back the wit and charm they’re known for. Though the back-and-forth vocals from Taylor Jardine and Jordan Eckes are still here, there seems to be a stronger emphasis on Jardine as the lead vocalist. Since they could both front a band on their own, this isn’t really a problem, but rather an observation of a small change. Adjustments noted, fans of the EP should have no problem finding plenty to love on the LP.
Lead single “Rumor Mill” indicated little change from Guaranteed To Disagree, but offers endless energy, perfected pop melodies, and very good songwriting. The chorus is top-notch, and the bridge allows Jardine to pull you in with some extremely powerful vocals. The track has great guitar parts and nice drum fills. Start to finish, it’s the epitome of We Are The In Crowd. “This Isn’t Goodbye, It’s BRB” continues with a similar feel, though Eckes is given more opportunity to take control in the vocals department, most impressively in the bridge. There are some really interesting guitar parts and tones in this song, and the drum parts do a great job of emphasizing them.
Though “The Worst Thing About Me” is still fairly upbeat, it has a somewhat slower feel to it, coming off of the energy of the first two tracks and leading into the mid-tempo “Kiss Me Again,” which sadly falls a bit short of the mark set early on. Full of generic, sugary lyrics that remind me of my failed attempt to get through the first Twilight book, even a well-written bridge and strong performance by Jardine do little to salvage the track. Though the opening of “On Your Own” indicates a similar tempo, the track quickly picks up and injects the album with the energy it needed. Appropriately picked to be the second single from Best Intentions, this is quite the singalong track as soon as the chorus hits and the lyrics fans grew accustomed to with their EP really shine.
Beginning the album’s second half, “All Or Nothing” takes an even slower pace than “Kiss Me Again,” but is much more successful and shows quite a bit of maturity and restraint. Though not the most memorable song on the album, it fits well after “On Your Own.” After a weak opening, “Exits and Entrances” manages to redeem itself well with strong verses. The lines from the beginning work much better in the context of the chorus and bridge, and the drums tie everything together well. “See You Around” sounds a lot like a more toned-down version of something from the EP and is moderately successful, save for the ill-attempted auto-tuning midway through.
My personal favorite track on the album is “You’ve Got It Made,” a post-breakup ballad that features great clean and acoustic guitar parts and the best lyrics on the album. This song is begging to be put in a movie, especially when the strings come in towards the best bridge on the album. The outro fits perfectly and, though it’s not the typical song you’d expect from WATIC, this is exactly the sort of track I’d love to hear more of from the band in the future. “Better Luck Next Time” combines some of the best elements of the band’s sound with an atmospheric quality to great effect. Closing with another set of stellar vocal performances, great lyrics, and strong instrumental performances, the album definitely ends on a high note.
In a year with a number of high-quality pop releases, We Are The In Crowd has definitely put together one that stands out. Though they use a lot of the same song structures, their undeniable melodic sensibilities more than make up for it and manage to make similar patterns sound unique. Maturing from the sound of their EP has allowed them to create some variety, and each member brought a lot of quality performances to this album. Even with its missteps, Best Intentions has a very high replay value and, though it’s not the strongest album of the year, it holds up as one of my favorites up to this point.