The Vamps blessed the music scene all the way back in 2012 after meeting online and posting covers on YouTube. From that small garage band, they have grown into one of the biggest bands in the UK. After six headline tours, becoming the first band to perform at London’s O2 Arena five years in a row, a number one album, and performing to hundreds of thousands of adoring fans worldwide, Brad, James, Connor, and Tristan return with their fifth studio album titled “Cherry Blossom.”
This isn’t an album you can just summarise in a few paragraphs. There are so many aspects of “Cherry Blossom” that are just sheer perfection – the gorgeous artwork, the flawless production, the professional musicianship, the heart wrenching lyrics, the passionate vocals – no amount of words can do it justice but we’ll do our best. The only way to do this is to break it up track by track and give every individual song the attention it deserves. Here we go!
Picture this. You’re in a concert venue. COVID-19 has finally decided to leave the world alone. You’ve counted down the days to this exciting moment. You’ve watched all of the support acts. You’ve spent too much money on merch. You’re surrounded by like-minded strangers who you connect with instantly. Then suddenly, the lights drop. The intro to Glory Days starts to play. Everyone screams. And then, there The Vamps are, walking on stage, the moment you’ve been waiting for, for months and months, and the time has finally arrived. “Glory Days” will make you crave that moment. It’s a bitter-sweet feeling, yet you can’t help but feel hopeful that this day will arrive eventually. It’s all about putting your phone away and being present. You will be singing these highly catchy lyrics from the top of your lungs with fellow Vamps fans soon. Picture that moment when you hear this song. It will help you through this…and the wait will sure be worth it.
“Better” was the third song that The Vamps released ahead of the album. Whilst the lyrics mainly focus on drifting apart from each other in a relationship, reading between the lines, there’s that hidden meaning of being the best you can be in any situation. The lyric “I won’t settle for less than best” can apply to anyone in any aspect of their lives. There’s hints of 80s vibes in the production, but we still hear the insane guitar and drum sounds The Vamps are so iconic for. You know how some songs just make you feel angry? Not because the song is bad, but you know you can play it and just vent your feelings and frustrations? There’s something therapeutic about this track and you will feel a lot “better” after listening. The four-piece have also recently dropped an amazing music video to “Better” which you can watch below;
Married In Vegas
“Married In Vegas” was the track that introduced us to this era. What stands out the most in this song is the instrumentation. In previous albums, The Vamps hid behind synths and collaborated with DJs – and they made it work! Some excellent songs came of this. But it’s nice to hear the pure talent that this band has in their instrument playing. With this song (and the album as a whole), they have proven that they are a BAND band. You can hear Connors’ infectious bass lines, Tristan’s phenomenal drumming skills, James’ shredding guitar, and Brads beautiful piano. With this song, they have reintroduced themselves and we are loving it.
“Chemicals” gives you quite a trippy listening experience, but it’s welcomed. It’s a different side to The Vamps to what you have heard from albums that they have released before. It’s almost serious and rather playful at the same time? It’s one hell of a bop that describes that feeling when we are at the height of a new love. Those high feelings you get when you’re into someone.
The band have been quoted to say that this was the track that set the sound for Cherry Blossom. This is a statement that is well and truly accurate. If you’re not going to listen to the album from start to finish (we don’t see why you wouldn’t but that’s not the point!), then we suggest you start with “Chemicals” for this reason alone
Here is where it starts getting serious. Quite the contrast to the song we previously heard. Whilst “Chemicals” is all about that high feeling you get when you like someone, “Would You” focusses on the insecurities you feel in a relationship. It’s the first ballad that we hear and it tells a story that we’ve all been through at some point in our lives, making it one of the most relatable songs on the album. It has an eerie soundscape to it, alongside intricate beats and stunning guitar playing.
Fancy having a bit of a dance? Well then this is a song for you. After that serious, yet extraordinary ballad, we move on to “Bitter.” A highly captivating track with extremely addictive beats. Clap along, sing your heart out, allow yourself to have a good time whilst listening. Forget about everything that’s going on in life right now, and focus on this fun-loving song. The chorus packs a punch and is likely to get stuck in your head for the next week or so – we’ve warned you, so listen at your own risk! It’s likely to be a distraction but who cares when it’s a banger?
Part Of Me
“Part Of Me” is one of the two break-up songs that features on the record. It focusses on what happens to you after a relationship has ended. Losing that part of yourself that you loved the most. This is an emotion everyone can relate to and the feeling is like losing a limb – you’d struggle without that missing piece. Although it’s describing quite a soul-destroying feeling, the snappy production and the engrossing instrumentals between versus lightens the mood, making it memorable.
The way that it is performed is also something worth mentioning. You can hear every lyric perfectly with so much energy that it’s hard not to sing along. Brad has been able to do this throughout the whole of Cherry Blossom. You could hate every single song (you won’t, but let’s talk hypothetically), and you will still want to learn every single word because you can hear the passion, and the hard work the boys have put into it. Blood, sweat, and tears were poured into the making of this record and this song is just one example of it.
Time to get the tissues out ladies and gents because we’ve got an emotional one here. “Protocol” is also another song about the aftermath of a relationship ending. However, this time it’s not got the same upbeat tempo as Part Of Me, meaning that it’s likely to pull on a few heartstrings. This is a track that seems to mean a lot to guitarist James as he posted on Instagram describing it as;
“a song about exploring the darkest regions of your mind and acknowledging the implications and consequences of selfishness. It wasn’t easy to write.”
It wasn’t easy for him to write, which also means that it’s not an easy listen. But sometimes we need songs that make us feel sad. It’s what helps us deal with our emotions and we can thank James for creating this broken-hearted masterpiece.
Nothing But You
Now that we’ve had a good cry, let’s move on. “Nothing But You” will lighten your spirits after that emotional roller-coaster. We think now is the time to appreciate Brads flawless high notes that we hear throughout the whole album, but it really shines in “Nothing But You.” The only criticism about this is that, sadly, we’re not all blessed with the same talent he has. Try reaching those high notes yourself and you’ll probably sound like a screaming cat. But that’s okay, because this fun-loving song will make you not care at all.
The best songs are the ones that resonate with you the most personally. Finding lyrics that perfectly articulate what you’re going through. “Treading Water” is one of those rare gems. It’s one of those songs that almost tortures you because it describes that feeling too well, you have to listen to it over and over again. It describes a different topic to what we’ve heard already. Rather than talking about a relationship, it focuses on loneliness – an emotion everyone feels from time to time, yet there seems to be some sort of taboo around the subject. Nobody likes admitting it. This is why “Treading Water” is the perfect track to end an album. Songs like this need to exist in the music industry so fans and listeners know that it’s okay to feel this way. The story-telling in the lyrics is truly phenomenal. The listening experience is so raw, you might as well be reading a diary-entry. The best way to end what is a faultless album.
Listening to the record from beginning to end is a journey you will not regret being on. The Vamps have shown the world a very personal side to themselves, and you will feel privileged that they have allowed you to see this side of them. The musicianship that you hear throughout is just remarkable. Brad, James, Tristan, and Connor gel together so perfectly, and that connection radiates through each individual track on Cherry Blossom. No song would exist without each members’ input and that is something to be admired.
“Cherry Blossom” is an absolute must listen to. It’s out now on Spotify and all other major streaming platforms. The band have also recently announced a 2021 tour where you can hear some of these fabulous tracks live and have that wonderful Glory Days moment. Tickets can be found here. For more updates, be sure to follow The Vamps on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.