Pop-rockers The Summer Set have kept pretty quiet for a while now. In fact, they hadn’t released a new single in almost 2 years (“Lighting In A Bottle”). They re-released their 2013 album Legendary with a few bonus tracks in 2014, but none were used as a new single. When drummer Jess Bowen went off and started a side project with The Ready Set called Nekokat, it was hard to not wonder if The Summer Set was on a hiatus. But, out of the blue came a new single from the band and a new album (their second under Fearless Records) was announced. “Figure Me Out” is the first track from the band’s 4th album Stories For Monday (which is set for an April release), and could be a preview of a slightly new sound that we may be getting from them.
Frontman Brian Logan Dales lures us in from his first lines, “I’m a bit too pop for the punk kids/but I’m too punk for the pop kids”, and takes the listener into his mind where frustration, self-doubt and worry run rampant – something a lot of young adults can relate to. “Figure Me Out” skirts around a more mature theme than past singles about love, breakups or just straight up partying all night long, and Dale’s surprisingly raspy croons show us a vulnerable side that we haven’t seen in quite awhile.
“Figure Me Out” portrays two sides of the fame coin – the ‘celebrity’ side that us normal people see and the struggles that musicians have to live with every day. Many lines throughout the track give references to how frustrating it can be doing all this work trying to not take the easy road and “live as another Youtube sensation” or how he realizes that he “got too fucked up on the finer things/to remember who he forgot.” He admits that the idea of fame can blind a person and can cause a lot of stress on a performer when they feel like nothing is going right for them. It’s almost as if Dales is trying to boost his own spirits in the chorus with “I believe there’s more to life than all my problems/maybe there’s still hope for me to start again/I’ll get my feet back on the ground/and pull my head out of the clouds/I think it’s time for me to figure me out” – a silver lining that most of us search for when life gets a bit overwhelming.
The music itself kind of sounds like a combination of Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness‘ “Satellite” and The Who‘s “Baba O’ Riley,” but with the obvious flair that Dale’s vocals always give off. The track is slower in pace than their past singles, but it gives off an air of maturity with its focus on slightly melancholic pianos instead of upbeat guitars and drums. Of course, the remaining instrumentalists get their moments to shine in collaborative solos towards the end of the track and remind us of just how talented each member of the band is both on their own and as a unit.
Regardless of the first two lines of the song, I think “Figure Me Out” might be The Summer Set’s most ‘pop-punk’ song they’ve released to date. The song is definitely marketed toward fans that have grown up with them, myself included, and are now in their early to mid-twenties.It kind of felt like they fell of the face of the Earth for a second and are now back to win our hearts back. In a way, the single sparks an awakening that most people who feel ‘lost’ experience when the time is right. It’s a reminder that there is always a light that will always break through the darkest moments that will lead us see to our best selves. It’s a catchy yet relatively personal song for the band and is an exciting look into what’s in store in Stories For Monday.
Pop Rock | Fearless Records