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Beach Bunny’s Heartbroken Honeymoon Is Impossible to Hate

The Chicago band’s debut is pop-punk bliss

Music Reviews Beach Bunny
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Beach Bunny&#8217;s Heartbroken <i>Honeymoon</i> Is Impossible to Hate

One simple line from “Rearview,” easily the best song on Beach Bunny’s incredible debut Honeymoon, sums up the complexity of breakups in the most straightforward way possible. “You love me / I love you / You don’t love me anymore, I still do,” sings lead singer Lili Trifilio. Nothing about the line is particularly special on the surface—some variation of it has been written a thousand times over—but in the grand scheme of the song (and the album as a whole), it means everything, as every teenage relationship does.

The line is first sung quietly over a hushed muted guitar, vulnerable and aching. But she turns that despair into communal catharsis as it’s repeated again, this time the rest of her band joining in to prop her up. The end result is a rousing finish, a bleeding heart anthem for anyone with a broken heart. It’s surely going to be the impassioned centerpiece of Beach Bunny shows for years to come.

Honeymoon takes these emotional peaks and turns them into something celebratory so effortlessly, it seems routine. It’s the best pop-punk album to come around in quite some time, the sonic middle ground between a politics-free Camp Cope and a peppier Best Coast that’s unconcerned with the beach (though Trifilio does wish she was a California girl on “Ms. California”). All nine songs are catchy as hell, featuring triumphant choruses and impressive J. Mascis-esque guitar solos. At no point does Beach Bunny make things complicated. Honeymoon never tries to be anything it isn’t—it’s just better at what it does than almost anyone else.

And because of its simplicity, it’s easy to believe every word Trifilio sings throughout. She has an earned authenticity because it feels like she’s still reeling from the various stages of love and heartbreak. She loves hard and fully—as any young person does—and is frank about her inherent jealousy (“I love your voice but hate the way / You talk of her consistently / But every time you say her name / It honestly kills me” she discloses on “Ms. California”), her inability to move on (“Part of me still hates you / How could you love someone and leave?” from “Promises”) and the glorious feeling when a relationship is truly working (“But when he loves me, I feel like I’m floating / When he calls me pretty, I feel like something” from “Cloud 9”). It’s so easy to see oneself in Trifilio’s words. She describes this universal dilemma most bluntly in “Cuffing Season”: “Sometimes I like being on my own / I’m afraid of winding up alone.”

Even though Trifilio sounds hopeless at times, she finds salvation in power chords and crescendos. In one of the rare moments when she allows her voice to be naked —on the morose keyboard solo “Racetrack”—she knows that, as hurt as she is now, she’s ready to fall for someone else all over again. “Love is but a game of give and chase / What is a runner without a big race?” she sings, her vocals cracking and strained. It’s impossible not to root for her.

It’s no wonder Gen Z has latched onto Beach Bunny so hard (their 2018 single “Prom Queen” went viral on TikTok). A new generation of dejected teens have finally found a band that makes them feel less alone—every generation needs artists like that, after all. But Honeymoon is also a fun-as-hell pop-punk romp for listeners of any age. Trifilio is the patron saint of underdogs just trying—and failing—in a never-ending quest for happiness. Aren’t we all?

Revisit Beach Bunny’s 2019 Paste session:

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