Badflower’s first and highly anticipated studio album, Ok, I’m Sick, is finally here. The rock band that unapologetically strives to “bring emo back” finds major success with their first full length release. Hype for the album built over the past few years with EPs and singles being released along with a manic touring schedule to get their name out there.
The album opens with the hectic and dynamic song “x ANA x”. The song talks about anxiety and its link to drug addiction while mirroring the themes with an equally frenetic musical backdrop. “The Jester” is a more traditional rock anthem with guitar solos, pounding drums, and a soaring chorus. This is followed by the major hit song and single off the album, “Ghost”. This song is the major reason that most people know Badflower, and the praise is well deserved. “Ghost” is an emotional powerhouse of a song that tackles suicide and self-harm. The balance between the beautiful singing and instrumentation with the dark lyricism is powerful. Lead singer, Josh Katz, approaches songs like this one with a perfect blend of honesty and reverence for the subject matter.
“We’re In Love” sees Katz discuss a man struggling with love and sexuality as he sings “With lights out, love is love is love”. The subject is paired with a strong melodic chorus laid over a base of moody synths and guitars. After this, we reach the standout track of the album, “Promise Me”. The song talks about growing up with someone you love and fearing the idea of growing up and losing them. The story progresses through the song until the final chorus when the loved one is gone. This song is extremely emotional and will have you screaming along to the chorus after one listen. The beauty of this album is seen in how strong and clean the production is on this song, while they still leave in an unedited, solitary scream of the word “gave” in the last chorus.
Later in the album, the band includes their popular song, “Heroin”, which was originally released in 2017. The musical structure of soft verses to bombastic choruses, that was popularized by grunge bands such as Nirvana, is done to perfection on this track. Katz works in a strong build throughout the full song, before pulling the rug out from under the listener for a stripped back finish. “Die” is an unapologetic and aggressive attack of the current American political system, meat industry, climate change deniers, and even more. With all of this covered, it is centrally and most importantly a protest song against current President Donald Trump, which doesn’t care to mince words on the band’s opinions. “Wide Eyes” tells the heartbreaking story of an abused child. The song receives its pure power from the screams that pierce through the bridge, almost unexpectedly.
As far as first studio albums go, Badflower hit a homerun with Ok, I’m Sick. The album strikes an incredible balance between raw emotion, screams, and professional production. The band is not only willing to approach the most difficult and taboo subjects they can, but also treats each issue with respect and sincerity. If you have seen Badflower live, you know that these songs, while phenomenal in recording, were made to be played live. So, back to the road they go, touring with Nothing More and Of Mice and Men. But, this time they have a brand new and impressive album under their belts.
Stream Ok, I’m Sick below: