Published Jul 22, 2020Coping with mental illness, healing from a broken relationship and the journey to self-love don't have to sound grey. In fact, Liza Anne proves on Bad Vacation that it can sound a lot like new wave, pop-rock and beachy ballads that all come together to create a sprightly summer depression album. Bad Vacation shows Anne going through a gloomy and arduous metamorphosis, but ultimately, one that purges the dark emotions inside and brings them out into the light for her to confront.
Anne's dreary and beat-up lyrics set to catchy pop-rock allow her to sit with her grief following her last project, Fine but Dying, where she first began to share her struggles with mental health. The execution is fun but the emotions are hazy, which, along with a new wave spin, is a combo that might remind listeners of Paramore's After Laughter. The end of a strenuous relationship and its aftermath further highlight Anne's inner turmoil, where she refers to said relationship as a "Bad Vacation" but still secretly hopes her love will finally work out on "Change My Mind." "Devotion" is a strident breakup anthem and declaration of self-love that oozes riot grrrl energy à la Bikini Kill.
Anne's internal monologue of feeling like a burden or becoming easily overwhelmed on tracks such as "I Shouldn't Ghost My Therapist," "Bummer Days" and "Desire" all have qualities that are both playful and riddled with ennui, again with a bright tone on the surface and a softer, more idle current underneath, capturing the spirit of feeling melancholy on a blinding sunny day. The album fittingly closes with "Too Soon," where she expresses her desire to "lose her mind a little" in order to love again without being held back by her tendency to overthink. On Bad Vacation, the emotions may be heavy, but that won't stop listeners from dancing along to them and air-guitaring in their bedrooms. (Arts & Crafts)