Badflower shocks fans back to reality with ‘This Is How The World Ends’

Written By Kylie Thomas, Co-Features/A&E Editor

It’s not very often that you hear almost the entirety of an album live before its release, but this was the case with rock band Badflower’s sophomore album “This Is How The World Ends.” The album was released on Sept. 24, however, some fans, including myself, were exposed to the album a few days earlier during their This Is How The World Ends Tour.

Badflower is a hard-rock band out of Los Angeles, California. The band consists of singer and guitarist Josh Katz, bass player Alex Espiritu, lead guitarist Joey Morrow, and drummer Anthony Sonetti. Their first album in 2019 “OK, I’M SICK” made an impact with its true-life, no hold-back lyrics and unique rock sound that leans somewhere between hard-rock, soft-rock and punk. Their hard-hitting song “Ghost” even won Rock Song of the Year at the 2020 iHeartRadio Music Awards.

Now the band has moved on with the same blend of sounds and revealing lyrics in “This Is How The World Ends.” It all started with the release of the song “Family” on July 7. This song is a melancholy one, filled with the tale of a family that’s broken down over time. Katz, the songwriter for the band, tells the tale of becoming the disappointment of his family after being the favorite son. It’s filled with heavy drums with Katz’s vocals and guitar melody floating over top. The single gave fans the notice that this album will be just as emotionally impactful as the last.

The band continued to release three other singles; “Don’t Hate Me,” “Fukboi” and “Johnny Wants To Fight” over the course of the next two months till the release of the full album. “Fukboi” and “Johnny Wants To Fight” are two of the lighter material songs on the album but the instrumentals and delivery are what make these two songs featured above the others. If you want a song to smash stuff to or punch a pillow to, these are it. Filled with quick chorded guitar sections, deep basslines, and triplet drum features, they’re like revamped classic punk hits. They explore similar themes of jerk guys who don’t treat girls right but win them over anyway. The songs are basically a callout to these guys out there and are the perfect song for frustration over the male species.

Thanks to their Pittsburgh tour date last Wednesday, my first impression of seven of these songs (yes, you read that right, they played seven unreleased songs) was at their first tour back since the pandemic started. While it was weird to just stand there at a concert while one of your favorite bands plays a bunch of songs you don’t know, it was an experience to get to see Katz portray the emotions of these songs while listening to them for the first time.

At this show, the song that caught my attention the most was one called “Stalker.” It might have been the strobe lights or the fact that the band was jumping all over the stage, but I knew immediately this would be one of my favorite’s on the album.

Now, Badflower’s music is known to explore themes that most bands are vague about. Not Badflower, this band will tell you every little detail you need to know. In the case of “Stalker,” this means diving into the story of a psychopath man who wants to be with this woman who doesn’t even notice him. The first lyrics (or screaming) heard in the song is, “Stalker, stalker, one day I’ll probably f***ing kill her, kill her.” It’s a very dark song but with the spoken word like verses, screaming, hardcore chorus, and soft, light refrain it’s certainly a song that brings in as many elements as possible. But the crazy part is, it works, SO well. The guitars and bass align with basic punk riffs while the drums are reminiscent of hard rock basics of bass drum and snare. Seriously, this song shows off the musicality of the band so well because it’s able to make a ton of chaotic elements work in a catchy way.

The album keeps this theme of real-life stories throughout it. Some of the more mellow hits on this album actually push the envelope on lyrical stories more so than “Stalker.” There’s a song near the end of the album that quite literally made me stop bopping my head due to the nature of the lyrics. “Tethered” explains the story of a young 17-year-old girl who goes out for a night with her friends. Well on this night out, something gets slipped into her drink and she winds up going home with a random guy. After ending up pregnant with this guys’ son, she stays with him despite the abuse that occurs. The bridge tells you all you need to know, “Abused at 17//Some unrelenting creepy//The father of her son.” While it’s a great song due to the emotion that Katz puts into the vocals and the way the musicians use their instruments to build suspense in the lyrics, it’s a song that tells a heartbreaking story that happens too often.

But this isn’t even the peak of the emotional turmoil these songs explore as the last two songs “Machine Gun” and “My Funeral” explore themes of having to go to war at a young age and fantasizing about your own funeral.

In fact, the album starts off with some lighter, catchy songs before slowly whisking the listener away into thinking about the state of the world today. You’re truly listening to the world end as you listen through this album. The instrumentals also start out the same way with fast-paced, hard-rock hits with synths that slowly turn into stripped-down, raw guitar, drums and bass.

Badflower is truly an original band. They’re willing to venture into areas most bands wouldn’t dare go towards and it truly pays off for them. They create songs that take you into a full-length story in just three minutes. Not only are the lyrics something to pay attention to but so are the instrumentals. The talent that it takes to be able to piece together instrumentals to perfectly match and influence how the lyrics come off is outstanding. It’s hard to explain how impactful this album is without just listening to it on your own. We are truly watching the world end and Badflower will be right there beside listeners, showcasing it all.