Prince Daddy & the Hyena’s Newest (Emo)tional Contribution Against Black Mold Poisoning

TRIGGER WARNING: Contains content about suicidal ideation

By Lily Hoveke

New York emo band Prince Daddy & the Hyena released their newest self-titled album just last Friday. After touring as support with Hot Mulligan this past winter, they’re finally starting their spring headline tour in support of the release of their third album. The album explores themes of depression, isolation, and seeking help when you are at a low place mentally. Rather than just a quick mention of mental illness, the band takes on more of a storyteller approach to writing, utilizing recurring characters with the help of a guiding narrator to convey feelings that need to be shared.

The album opens with the track “Adore the Sun,” a slow and hazy type of song that transitions seamlessly into the next. “A Random Exercise in Impermanence (The Collector)” goes at a much quicker pace. With a callback to their previous album “Cosmic Thrill Seekers”, shown through the opening line “the passenger almost died today”,  it’s no wonder why it was chosen to become a single to promote the album. It’s the perfect song to mosh to and sure to be a fan favorite during their live shows.

The fourth track “Something Special” is a slower song with acoustic influences and angry lyrics that don’t sound all that angry. The lyrics reflect a struggle where the narrator feels as though he is under the control of someone else. “As if a puppeteer; he whispers in my ear” is the defining line of the song, but is sung so calmly that most listeners may not pick up on it unless they’re listening closely. The narrator feels like depression is controlling him, reducing him from feeling independent to the complete opposite. This may not be a universal experience, but it sure is a common feeling among those experiencing severe mental illness. 

“El Dorado” picks up the pace once again with heavy guitars and drums that channel the emo sound that Prince Daddy & the Hyena is known for. Lyrics such as “but I’m so stuck, would you help me get unstuck?” and “let’s give it a fresh start tomorrow” highlights a struggle with depression. It conveys a willingness to change while reaching out for help to get better.  “Hollow As You Figured” is a song about the dark parts of one’s mind, but the emphasis in this track is placed on the last minute of guitar and drums that is built up over the course of the song. It’s a powerful ending to the song that truly showcases the instrumental talents of the band.

The second half of the album begins with the song “Curly Q”, being the first single that was released from the record. The fan favorite takes on a slower and more acoustic sound until about 3 minutes in, when the instruments build up and slowly fade out by the end. “Keep up That Talk” is a song that can be danced to with punchy guitar riffs and a fast tempo, as long as the lyrics aren’t being listened to that deeply. Like many songs on the album, it’s upbeat and fun to listen to. On the other hand, the lyrics reveal a deeper (and often more depressing) meaning to the song. “Shoelaces” and “In Just One Piece” take on this similar trend seen throughout the album.

“Discount Assisted Living” serves as an interlude, with the piano and vocals taking control of the track and serving to transition listeners to the next, “Black Mold”. This was one of the most interesting tracks on the album, opening with a voicemail recording about a person who is struggling with suicidal thoughts and preparing to say their goodbyes, but seeking one final conversation with an old friend first. It begins slow and steady but ends with a noisy outro that sounds as messy as the singer’s mind feels. The final track “Baby Blue” is both a goodbye and dedication all in one. The narrator makes peace with dying while finding peace in the presence of another person.

After listening to the album in full, I really did enjoy this release, but it was not a perfect album for me. As much as I enjoy a change in sound, I thought this album was all over the place. In the beginning, it continually rotates between fast-paced music and slower songs in a way that doesn’t flow well. However, upon further reflection, I wonder if this decision was deliberate. Was it done to reflect the disorganization within the writers’ heads?

I also found the ordering of the tracks to be a bit random, but it didn’t detract too much from the overall experience. I did, however, think that the singles released to promote this album (“Curly Q”, “A Random Exercise in Impermanence (The Collector)”, “El Dorado”, and “Shoelaces”) were a good representation of the overall sound of the album. I don’t know if the choice was left to the band, or if the label took control of which singles were released, but whoever made the choice knew exactly what they were doing and set up fans to know exactly what to expect.

My personal favorite tracks were “Black Mold” and “A Random Exercise in Impermanence (The Collector).” One of my favorite parts of “Black Mold” was the subtle melody from an older song of theirs titled “I Lost My Life.” This album is also a wonderful choice to listen to if you are not familiar with their music and are trying to find a good place to start. It highlights emo influences without being too brash, and the guitar work in many of these songs is phenomenal.

For new listeners, it provides a great introduction to emo music. For old fans, it subtly incorporates parts of their older music, as if they’re Easter eggs hidden within. The experience of listening to an album this emotional and honest is one that can and should be shared with everyone.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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