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CD of The Week

Week of 4/01/24

    Lauran Hibberd - Girlfriend Material (Virgin)

    Here at Y-Not Radio, we’ve been fans of Lauran Hibberd and her clever, catchy songwriting dating back to her 2019 single “Frankie’s Girlfriend.” Her full-length debut, 2022’s Garageband Superstar, was full of sharp tunes and great hooks, but Hibberd couldn’t totally enjoy its release, as the album landed around the same time that her father passed away. On her second record, Girlfriend Material, Hibberd reckons with this major life event, the dating scene, and much more across its 12 tracks.

    The album opens with “I Suck at Grieving,” one of the Girlfriend Material songs we got in 2023, which tackles her father’s death head-on, with direct honesty. Hibberd gets lost in Gilmore Girls reruns and guilt over how to spend her inheritance in one of the best songs of her young career. “Mary” is based-on-a-true-story of Lauran’s attempt at double dating and falling for the female half of the other couple instead, with a catchy, wordplay-laden chorus. “2nd Prettiest Girl (In the World)” is based on a real-life offhand comment someone made, which Hibberd turned into one of the catchiest, clap-along and sing-along songs on the record. With its modern pop production, “2nd Prettiest Girl” isn’t far from Oliva Rodrigo’s wheelhouse and certainly belongs on her GUTS tour pre-show playlist.

    Hibberd wears her ‘00s influences on her sleeve, with the Avril Lavigne-core production of “Jealous” and the Warped Tour compilation dynamics of “Happy for You.” The guitar crunch of “90’s Kid” would make Rivers Cuomo proud. “90’s Kid” has some fun swagger and rightfully quotes the Spice Girls, as Hibberd lays claim to being a “90’s kid,” even though she was born in 1997. The lighter-waving “Pretty Good Day for a Bad Day” is a collaboration with Alex Gaskarth of long-running emo punks (and Hibberd’s recent touring partners) All Time Low. On it, she declares “It's not the worst day of my life/But it's up there with Bowie dying” and embraces the good and the bad that can happen simultaneously. And “Anti-Fragile” is an acoustic-based ode to staying strong.

    Produced by Underoath drummer Aaron Gillespie, Girlfriend Material sounds bigger and bolder overall, while the songwriting is slightly more mature than her past material, but plenty of Lauran’s personality shines through. Her charming, witty songwriting is still the draw and you can catch her on her first headlining tour of North America later this year when Lauran plays Kung Fu Necktie on June 6th.
    Review by Joey O.

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