During the span of a year between March 2015 and March 2016, gnash released three EPs, titled “U,” “me” and “us.” The first two took the listener through gnash’s thoughts and feelings regarding the end of a long, volatile relationship. The third was gnash feeling better about his current state, while singing more for the present and future rather than about the past.
After gnash quietly usurped the charts back in 2016 with his hit song “i hate u, i love u (feat. Olivia O’Brien),” he has been wholly content with flying under the radar.
“My personality type is one that wasn’t quite prepared for this,” he said in an interview with Vogue magazine.
After multiple tours and close to three years removed from anything other than singles, gnash released his first full-length album, “we,” Jan.11. The 13-song, 40-minute album is about twice as big as any of gnash’s other projects, and marks a culmination of a longer process that took time to develop the proper sound.
Gnash released several songs in 2018 that are featured on “we.” There was another melancholy anthem for the lonely in “the broken hearts club,” which pairs well with the reflective and single narrator in both “t-shirt” and “imagine if.”
In “t-shirt,” a hurt and broken lover is left from a relationship, with the only memento being one of the girl’s t-shirts that was left. This song is akin to gnash’s older EPs, with his hollow arrangement and heartbroken lyrics combining to form a very profound song. The verses are slow and sad while the choruses are faster and electrifying, with gnash using their differences to show how feelings can fluctuate from sadness to anger about heartbreak.
“Imagine if” talks about a relationship that gnash wishes he could go back and save. This hints at gnash retroactively analyzing his relationship, questioning his own actions and knowing he was the reason for the end of the relationship. Gnash hits on how love and the internet are inversely correlated, as the bridge of the song begins with “imagine what the world be like / if everybody stayed in love / if everybody stayed offline.” He knows it is an absurd wish to hope for, so he’ll just wish for another chance.
The fourth single, titled “nobody’s home,” takes the listener through gnash’s emotions as he copes with being alone in his house, and how he forgot how lonely and reflective he is in this situation. When you’re used to someone else filling your space, how lonely does one feel when that comfort and safety is gone? Does your home feel even more lonely than it did before when you were alone in it? Or are you just missing what you used to have?
Along with those four, there was one other single that gnash released prior to “we.” “Dear insecurity” is about overcoming your self-conscious doubts and internal struggles. It shows how a person can’t really love someone else if they don’t love themselves first, cliches and all. It places a high value on sincerity and truly being yourself around someone.
Aside from the five singles and the recurrence of “i hate u, i love u (feat. Olivia O’brien),” there are seven new songs from gnash to unpack.
“Happy never after” chronicles gnash’s struggles with finding another love after the one he last had, and his struggles with independence and valuing love nowadays. He questions why he continues to chase potential loves that seem to have no clear chance, with the story of his last relationship still haunting him.
“Insane” and “wait” dive off the deep end, almost quite literally, about gnash’s mental state. “Insane” discusses how gnash struggled with even making music and comprehending the fact that his last relationship has ended. He’s finally opening up about his struggles rather than building more walls, and going insane to gnash means that he’ll finally be willing to receive the help he needs.
In “wait,” gnash’s seemingly bipolar relationship leaves him insecure and unsure of his actions, making him feel suffocated. It’s scary to think that people can yearn after a relationship and the supposed happiness that accompanies one, and in the end wind up feeling suffocated and not enough for the other person.
“Pajamas” is a criticism of the world we live in, and how overwhelming everything can seem to people sometimes. Gnash offers the idea of just staying inside and spending time with his partner over dealing with the world and all of its problems and stresses and worries. It signifies one of those lazy days in which doing nothing really is the best thing you could do.
“Feel better” and “be” are two love songs about how the other person in gnash’s life makes him feel more stable, more secure and more sure in his actions and thoughts. The two both talk about feeling better with one another, and how even if things go bad, they will be willing to deal with it.
The short closer “p.s.” is a farewell letter to gnash’s ex. It brings a sense of closure not only to the album, but to the relationship that has haunted gnash for so long. He is content with the love he gave, and that he is still with the other person, regardless of whether or not they end up together.
Gnash is coming to Philadelphia Jan. 20 at The Foundry.