As I was working on my June ICYMI article, I realized that SAINTE’s debut album “smile, and wave” had been released. So, of course, I had to drop everything and check it out.
The seven-track album hits all the right notes — sonically, aesthetically and lyrically, it is a success. Building up to the album, three singles, “Technicolor,” “With Or Without Me” and “Eyes Are Open,” were released along with music videos.
Punchy lyrics paired with sugary-sweet vocals and a trio of vibrant music videos made it clear that this venture differs from We Are The In Crowd, Tay Jardine, Mike Ferri and Cameron Hurley’s alternative-pop band. SAINTE leans toward the pop side, but WATIC’s edgy flair can still be detected in “smile, and wave.”
The album begins with “Eyes Are Open,” a powerful, upbeat track that sets the tone for the rest of the album. The key line, “Starting right now our eyes are open,” conveys the album’s overall message of introspection and leaving behind all that you know. This concept leads into “Technicolor,” a song about wanting to fall in love.
This was the first song released by SAINTE in October 2016, and I fell in love with it right away. I have always been a fan of Tay Jardine’s vocals, and as an avid fan of pop music, I was thrilled with the idea of a pop-centric side project. That said, I had no idea just how successful their new music would be.
The dreamlike relationship chronicled in “Technicolor” comes to an end with “With Or Without Me.” Here, it is realized that the dreams of being with someone can be better than actually being with them. Contrasting with the previous song’s “Why would I want to wake up at all?,” this one bites back with, “You keep me like a secret that you take out a night.”
The next track, “Feels So Wrong,” is the climax of the album. The glimpse into a past relationship is detailed here, though that is left behind with the line, “at least I finally know I can’t count on you.” This song brings the already-bubbling concept of self-realization to the surface where it can shine through.
“Lighthouse” is a reflective, emotional ballad centered on finding one’s way back to who they are meant to be. It is here where Jardine’s vocals shine: there are no over-the-top notes or crazy vocal tricks, just a clear, honest voice. “Lighthouse” is the only slow song on the album, breaking up the fast-paced, percussion and synth-filled tracks.
“White Lies” picks up the pace while keeping with the theme of self-discovery. This track itself is a journey; the hook begin saying “wherever I end up, I hope I find myself,” and ends as “wherever I end up, I know I’ll find myself again without you.”
As the second-to-last song on this album, “White Lies” ties a bright pink ribbon around the album thematically. Realization, reflection and rediscovery have been tackled, but the album isn’t over just yet.
“If You Ever Feel Alone” close the album, and it is just as inspiring as the title implies it to be. However, the song is not masked by rose-tinted glasses. It is a song about getting better, minus the bullshit. The bright, pop-heavy album is not all sunshine and rainbows.
Sure, it is an upbeat, uplifting and ultimately-optimistic display of music, but it does not pretend that everything is perfect once you find yourself. Where “White Lies” reminds listeners that they are capable of doing all that this album sets out to cover, “If You Ever Feel Alone” snaps them back to the reality that we are all just doing the best that we can.
“smile, and wave” is a knockout debut album that showcases the bittersweet realities of growing into the person you want to become. What is most impressive is that this is SAINTE’s debut album. This is just the beginning, and I can’t wait to see what they do next.