Girls Say Yes hasn’t paid attention to anything that’s been going on in music for the past few years, although that’s not to say that they’ve created a sound entirely their own. Girls Say Yes, lead by Jim Huie, has merely taken their influences from earlier eras in rock, creating a bright and playful sound for To Boys Who Say No that is truly alternative.
With ample doses of humor and affection, Huie’s Girls Say Yes is less of a band than one man’s collaboration with many different musicians. Because of this, there is a large variety of sounds on To Boys Who Say No, even down to different vocalists for several songs. Despite what would seem like a lack of unity, it all works together, giving the album a loose, fun feel that is always surprising. While Huie does not seem like someone who is aspiring to be any sort of musical genius, he has a good instinct for sound and holds To Boys Who Say No together.
The greatest attribute of Girls Say Yes, however, is their potential. Nothing here is extraordinary, but everyone involved does seem to work as hard as they can on this project. Everything is well done, and the music has an open honesty about it. The minor flaws in terms of lyrics or arrangements are forgivable because To Boys Who Say No is not trying to hide behind anything.
The 14 songs, mostly penned by Huie, have a wit and sincerity about them. The funny “She Married a Loser” features a chorus with lines like “She married a loser / Not a horrible abuser, but she married a loser / And after all, you know she could’ve had me” while on the unforgettable “Sylvia”, Huie sings sweetly “There’s a new constellation in my night / And she burns so bright.” Huie’s range as a lyricist, while pretty simple, is affecting and real.
Unfortunately for Girls Say Yes, To Boys Who Say No goes on a bit longer than it should, as if they wanted to include everything they did together. It doesn’t ruin the experience, but it does begin to drag towards the end, which is too bad for songs like “You’re Coming Down”. By the time listeners reach this point, they may no longer have the patience for this album.
Girls Say Yes is impressively complete, though, overall, exhibiting the talents of all the musicians involved, under the leadership of Jim Huie. While it may be that To Boys Who Say No is the only thing they ever do together since they’re not exactly a band, the experience is worth it, for both them and the listener.
// Notes from the Road
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