The very first major label release for band 25 Hours, I have been eagerly anticipating their Mom & Pop Shop album since it was first mentioned. I’ve been following 25 Hours since their very first indie debut. There’s just something so unique and endearing about them, about their sound, about their lyrics, I had no doubt that they would go far in the music industry, and I couldn’t wait for this album to come out. Now that it has and I’ve listened to it in its entirety over and over numerous times… I’m afraid those of you who prefer my negative reviews, criticisms, and snarky comments might find this review a bit boring, as I think I can only gush about this album.
From their very first single with GMM Grammy label branch Genie Records, “สุขาอยู่หนใด / Sookah Yoo Hon Dai (Where’s the Bathroom? [Happiness?]),” I was absolutely blown away. Their overall sound quality was so much better than their indie days, I loved the unique integration of uncommon instruments like the marxophone, and I absolutely love plays on words, so the tweaking of a common question like “where’s the bathroom” into a deep, existential inquiry sealed it for me. I swear, at least one million of those Youtube views are mine and mine alone, I played this song so much when it first came out, it got to the point where my boyfriend got so sick of it, he’d throw headphones at me whenever he heard that intro starting.
Their second single was the equally catchy “แรงโน้มถ่วง / Raeng Nohm Tuang (Gravity),” a nice motivational song about following your dreams and living your life while you can. The song was partnered with a perfect music video that both expresses the song’s message of living your life and also showcases the band’s playful nature, featuring an “elderly” man (played by the bandmembers, of course) waking up in an ambulance, realizing he still had things he wanted to do in life, and running around crossing things off his bucket list.
Their third single, “ไม่เคย / Mai Koey (Never),” was a short and simple ballad, but oh my god, I cannot remember the last time a song blew me away emotionally like this one. So much truth is conveyed through such short and simple lyrics, and the music video made me positively sob the beautiful way it depicted so many people’s different stories of loss and longing for others.
Genie Records have also recently released an official audio and lyrics video for the band’s song “เธอเอาใจฉันไป / Tur Ao Jai Chun Bpai (You Took My Heart Away),” so I assume this will be the album’s fourth single. It’s got a wonderfully catchy melody and sweet, innocent lyrics, I’m looking forward to seeing a music video for it.
25 Hours carried on the theme of “less is more” throughout the rest of the b-side tracks on this album, proving that one doesn’t need a novel-length web of lyrics to convey deep emotion or strong principles and that sometimes saying things simply with shorter lyrics speaks louder.
Among the other tracks, they have a nice balance between catchy, upbeat songs and slower ballads. My favorite non-single is definitely their song “ทีใครทีมัน / Tee Krai Tee Mun (To Each Their Own).” Not only is that idiom a staple in my own vocabulary and world views, but I like the way they express that message, reminding us that the world doesn’t revolve around us, that everyone has different points of views, that we should try looking at things from different people’s perspectives, and that we should use times and instances of disappointment as learning experiences to enrich our lives.
My second favorite b-side is “เสี่ยง / Siang (Risk).” It’s got a lovely melody, catchy beat, and touches on the ever prevalent law of life; if you don’t try, you’ll never know. 🙂
My third favorite would have to be “เรื่องธรรมดา / Reuang Tummadah (Common Problem).” I absolutely love songs that try to put a positive outlook on bad situations, and as someone who has always believed that romantic love most definitely is not and should not be EVERYTHING in life, this song’s lyrics are perfect. Coupled with the lovely instrumentals, and this song is another winner.
You know, I think I should just stop numbering my favorites, because I don’t think there’s a single song that’s not a favorite of mine haha. Their track “ลืม / Leum (Forget) is a fabulous ballad reminding us that even through days of disappointment and suffering, we shouldn’t forget that we still have people in our lives who love and care about us.
“เด็กน้อย / Dek Noy (Little Kid)” is an adorable song about childhood friends who grew up together, fell in love, and will grow old together.
Wrapping up the album, the only song I haven’t gotten a chance to translate yet, is the ballad “ไม่กลัว / Mai Glua (Not Afraid).” I think this was the only song of the album that didn’t overly impress me, mainly because the lyrics are the average, straight-forward “I lived my life alone for so long, no one understood me, then you showed up, now I’m not afraid of anything” lyrics that are already so prevalent in a lot of Thai pop songs and lakorn OSTs these days. But I guess even 25 Hours needs to sate an inner romantic sometimes, sometimes being straight up literal can be meaningful too, and even despite the cliche-ness, it’s still not a horrible song.
EDIT: Since writing this review, 25 Hours have released “ไม่กลัว / Mai Glua (Not Afraid)” as a single and have turned it around by making the music video focus on their friendship. Perhaps it’s not such a terribly boring song afterall~
Even though there are countless instances and examples in the past of major labels acquiring indie bands and just completely controlling and taking over their music to the point where it’s more about sales than artistic expression, every song on this album was written, composed, and arranged purely by the band members themselves, so as long as Grammy continues giving them their musical freedom, I’ll remain so excited and proud of 25 Hours for coming this far.
This is such an outstanding release for them. I could see any song able to be released as a single and do well on the charts. Everything from their sound, the instrumental compositions, the meaningful lyrics, to the fact that Laem, the vocalist, finally got rid of that curly-cue 1910s-Snidely-Whiplash mustache he used to have is just absolutely phenomenal, I have to give this album an easy 9.5/10. The only thing I can imagine that would make this album any better would be if that last track, “ไม่กลัว / Mai Glua (Not Afraid),” had more unique metaphorical or poetic lyrics than than the standard, shallow, literal ones. But that’s just me being nit-picky.
I highly recommend this band and all of their releases. If you’re liking what you hear with this album, you can order your own copy here at eThaiCD, no matter where you are in the world, or it is available on iTunes as well, for those who prefer digital copies. Please support the artists you love and purchase the music legally 🙂
Lastly, this was only my opinion, feel free to agree, disagree, and share your opinion in the comments below 😀