"The Thoughts That Give Me the Creeps" by Hellogoodbye
A hit single can be both a blessing and a curse for a new band. While the attention it brings can help launch the group into popularity, it can also raise expectations and affect the band's musical identity. Hellogoodbye rose to prominence on the shoulders of "Here (In Your Arms)," a synthpop song filled with vocoder effects and endearingly mushy lyrics. The accompanying video is fittingly sappy, featuring lead singer Forrest Kline winning the affections of a girl at summer camp. The band seemed poised for a successful emo-pop career as they released their first album Zombies! Aliens! Vampires!.
However, during the four years leading up to their next release (Would It Kill You?), the band saw significant changes including a contentious switch to a new label and an almost completely new lineup (only Kline remained). This led to a dramatic shift as they eliminated the synthesizers and vocal effects and settled on a power-pop sound. Ultimately, the decision to change directions was well-founded as the band comes across as more mature and confident, developing the goofy schmaltz into warm sentimentality.
This new perspective comes across in "The Thoughts That Give Me the Creeps," from Would It Kill You?, which features bare vocals backed by a stripped down ukulele, tambourine and celesta. Both the ukulele and bouncy delivery keep the maudlin and yearning lyrics from dominating the track. This combination makes the emotions that the song evokes both hypothetical and still mournful. The song perfectly illustrates the feeling of saudade, a Portuguese word without a direct English translation that describes a strong feeling of longing and nostalgia for someone or something that is absent. More complex than simply missing someone, the emotion can also apply to feelings of loss towards the future or past for someone who is currently present. "The Thoughts That Give Me the Creeps" portrays this feeling superbly and indicates the band's growth both sonically and in songwriting.