Armageddon, the sophomore album from Melbourne’s Between You & Me, is — among other things — an ode to the end of the world. Its release is well timed, given that every day the world’s end seems to grow closer and more plausible. But despite all that, Armageddon is an upbeat pop-punk record to brighten our last days.
The opening track, “Pleased to Meet You”, starts with intense, high energy production right off the bat, essentially breaking the fourth wall to welcome listeners to the end of the world. The song touches on a lot of social commentary addressed later in the album — such as social media’s role in activism — but enfolds the listener into the album’s world, which is a meta move I was really impressed by.
After that strong start, the album proceeds with its second track, “Deadbeat”. The song, a continuation of the intense pop punk production of the intro, reminds me of Radiohead’s “Creep” and its refrain of “I’m a creep/I’m a weirdo“. The chorus of “Deadbeat” too revolves around the singer accepting his role as a deadbeat and asking someone why they waste their time in the relationship. Though technically self-loathing in nature, this track makes for the perfect song to scream at concerts, finding unity in everyone declaring themselves as a deadbeat as well.
The third track takes a sharp 180 into romance. “Butterflies” switches between yearning for someone and describing them in the third person and wanting to confess to them in the second person, which makes the song a lot more dynamic. It’s easier to imagine the scenes switching from the singer being alone and wanting, to hiding their feelings around their love interest.
Though less intense, “Butterflies” keeps the high energy pop sound going, similar to the fourth song, “Change”. This song contains my favourite phrase in possibly the whole album (“It’s a fine line we fray”), and is the first to go back to “Pleased to Meet You”’s topic of social commentary. The song discusses wanting the world to change with a better leader in control but is also another upbeat pop track, which means listeners can nod along to the beat, in agreement, or both.
“Goldfish”, the fifth track, is a message to the music industry that demands change based on audience ratings, not artistic integrity. It is the most pop-punk out of all the tracks, in production and in sentiment, as the band chooses to stick to their own artistic vision instead of that dictated by anyone else.
The next song, “Supervillain”, goes back to the same acceptance of self as “Deadbeat”, but in a much more showy, proud way. The production focuses more on the keyboard for a theatrical and villainous soundtrack, making this one of my favourites off the album. Additionally, it inspires confidence in those of us who are people-pleasers, and insists we be okay as the supervillain in someone’s story.
The keyboard focus continues in the next track, “Real World”, though it is a much more cheery tune than “Supervillain”. The song takes on a different sound than the rest of the album, focusing more on individual vocals over a heavy instrumental complement. Given the message of being too whimsical for the real world, this song would be perfect in a movie montage, where the main character learns to finally experience joy in their life. However, all perfect bubbles must pop, and the eighth track, “Better Days”, is much more focused on quieting down with a simple guitar production. The message remains optimistic, with the singer accepting their mistakes and wanting to go back to a better life.
The penultimate song, “Go to Hell”, is the only collaboration on the album, featuring Yours Truly. The two voices harmonize really well, even when stating that everyone is going to end up in hell, which leads to a great listening experience. The commentary on social media’s fake activism is both timely and true as well, making this song an all around win.
The finale track and the title track on the record, “Armageddon”, is a great way to close out the album. It’s much less intense than “Pleased to Meet You”, but ties back to the same theme of waiting around and watching the world end. A personal favourite in the production was a police siren-esque beat in the background, which really tied together the entire vibe of the song. “Armageddon” is a fitting last track, giving closure to the doomsday introduced in the first song, but in a quieter way, ending with a fading of the instrumental echo, instead of with a bang. Not only were the individual songs catchy and well-made, the entire album paints a picture of personal confidence and growth, as well as commentary on the world now. If the world actually does end soon, this would definitely be my first choice soundtrack for it.