With a band as lyrically-driven and complex as Hop Along, it comes as no surprise that “How Simple” is vague and mysterious. On the first single from the Philadelphia four-piece’s upcoming album Bark Your Head Off, Dog, Quinlan boils romance down to its most unglamorous reality: “We were covered in each other’s snot in my childhood bed,” she sings.
“How Simple” assumes the stature of a triumphant break-up song – in the song’s repetitive bridge (“Don’t worry, we will both find out, just not together”), Quinlan’s voice multiplies into a round of gang vocals, marking perhaps the first time Hop Along has ever sounded anything like Paramore. Yet Quinlan never specifies who is implicated in this break up – is this a break-up between two people, or is this an anthem for personal growth?
“People romanticize the idea of finding themselves, but when they do, at least in my experience, it can be really difficult,” Quinlan explains.
Hop Along’s last album, Painted Shut (2015), is propelled forward by wordy narratives, which take place at funerals and Waffle House diners. “How Simple” presents more meditative, airy reflections, yet it still retains the unmistakably distinguishable sound that makes Painted Shut such a success.
Photo by Tonje Thilesen