Middle Kids – ‘Today We’re the Greatest’ album review

Photo credit: Daphne Nguyen

Middle Kids, a Sydney-based trip made up of Hannah Joy, Tim Fitz and Harry Day, release their second album ‘Today We’re the Greatest’ via Lucky Number. The album was recorded and produced in Los Angeles by Lars Stalfors (Soccer Mommy, St. Vincent, Purity Ring) and finds Hannah pulling directly from her own experiences in a fearless manner: ‘I want to make music that loves its listener. Music that makes people feel seen, seen in the tiny little places that hide away in their hearts. I want people to hear our music, and feel a sense of love. And when I say love, it can be challenging, intense and tough. But it’s in the guts.’

‘Bad Neighbours’ opens the album in style with the message that ‘Hope is an underrated word that I heard when I was younger before the anger’. This is followed by discussion of hurt, nasty neighbours and breaking free while the following song, the Mitski-esque ‘Cellophane’, continues with the heartbreak theme as Hannah focuses on someone who ends up crying in their car rather than ‘making deals, selling houses’ and living the good life they’d been promised: ‘When did you realise there’s no guy with a first prize waiting at the end?’

‘R U 4 Me?’ is a jangly and melodic piece with an opening line we can all get behind – ‘Eat a piece of cake to start the day right’ – before anxieties take hold with the explanation that all of Hannah’s friends and family are in therapy and a powerful question: ‘Are you for me or against me?’ Following this is the recent single ‘Questions’, a tale of trust, relationships and drinking over a handclap-laden soundtrack that evolves into something more akin to The National – complete with bursts of brass. ‘Lost in Los Angeles’ is more restrained as Hannah tries to figure things out before the album heads into a more potent pop sound on the hopelessly romantic ‘Golden Star’ – a song that expertly gives the personal lyrics space to breathe: ‘You are the sweeping tide, wash away the stuff that doesn’t come to life. ‘Summer Hill’ follows in this heart-to-heart vein but with upbeat assurances that ‘We can go anywhere’ and ‘I know you’re tough but I see you’re giving up’

There’s a nostalgic edge to ‘Some People Stay in Our Hearts Forever’ before ‘Run With You’ (complete with recordings of Hannah and Tim’s baby’s heartbeat at 20 weeks old) heads into more of a breezy Rilo Kiley direction. ‘I Don’t Care’ with its memorable chorus of ‘I don’t fucking care, I gotta do what I want to’ is a singalong anthem in waiting while the album comes to a close with the ode to love (both romantic and paternal) of ‘Stacking Chairs’ and the title track – a piano-led anthem that feels like it’s telling you directly to go out, ignore the nonsense (‘I notice a lot the world is a silent place where talking never stops’) and seize the moment: ‘Some day we’ll be gone but today we’re the greatest even though we feel so small’.

Middle Kids say ‘Today We’re the Greatest’ – one listen to this album will ensure you have a great day.

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