Ruins not completely in ruins
Written by: Gabby Mrozowski; Image belongs to Columbia Records
Weaved into the beginnings of 2018, First Aid Kit released their senior album, Ruins, on Jan. 19. Fans anticipated fresh-pressed music for four years, after the Swedish sister duo dropped albums every two years between 2010 and 2016. Klara and Johanna Söderberg revealed Ruins was mostly written during a five-week trip in Los Angeles, and both recognize the juxtaposition existing between that environment and their melancholy messages.
However long the record took to drop does not justify the quality First Aid Kit fostered in their previous three albums. In some parts, the sound stays stagnant from their previous music, and in others, an unexpected turn is wrongly taken. The album does not offer a comprehensive, fully-formed reason to produce a new album. No new style is undertaken nor do they build on old sound. But as always, the band delivers on strong lyrics that rattle to the bone with honesty.
Fueled by heartbreak and uncertainty, Ruins has select tracks perfect for crafting your own get-well playlist. Songs like “Rebel Heart,” “Fireworks,” and “To Live a Life” truly capture these fleeting emotions, but the whole does not function as the exemplary album of grief.
Songs resembling the previous style of First Aid Kit, like “Postcard,” seem misplaced in-between sorrowful songs. There is no decisive sentiment left after finishing the album, which throws the question of “why?” into the air.
This project definitively screams heartbreak as the underlying thesis, but the arrangement of songs does not follow a linear progression of emotions. Of course, heartbreak does not have a set-in-stone feelings timeline, but Ruins resembles a puzzle with all the right pieces some of the wrong place.