Since their introduction back in 2016, the Regrettes have existed at the intersection of ‘60s girl groups and Riot Grrl vibes, marrying sweet harmonies with heavier punk guitars in the name of demanding respect for themselves and teenage girls everywhere. Their lyrics focused on feminism, politics, and love, exhibiting wisdom far beyond their years and sass aimed at those dedicated to underestimating them. Their debut, Feel Your Feelings, Fool! earned praise from critics, as well as the intended comparisons to groups like The Ronettes and Bikini Kill. Since then, the Regrettes have been touring worldwide and releasing singles on a fairly consistent basis, including the sixth Hamildrop “Helpless,” part of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton collaborations project.
With a slightly different lineup (originals Lydia Night and guitarist Genessa Gariano are now joined by new bass player Brooke Dickson and drummer Drew Thompson) and a few more years’ worth of life experience under their belts, the Regrettes have released their second album, How Do You Love?. As their press release stated, this sophomore effort aimed to tell the story of “The rise and fall of a relationship—from that first rush of butterflies, through a destructive break-up, to ultimately finding peace and closure.” This emotional rollercoaster is an ambitious conceit considering its runtime doesn’t even crack forty-five minutes, but the Regrettes aren’t a band that backs away from a challenge.
The tone and ideas behind How Do You Love? are set by the first track, “Are You in Love?,” a spoken word poem performed by Night that explains the symptoms of being in love. While this spoken word poem isn’t exactly a banger, it leads directly into the pounding bass drum and charging guitar riffs of the first single, “California Friends,” one of the album’s standouts. The track celebrates the brilliant energy of a new crush, down to simple things like sharing music and appreciating someone’s freckles. However, the song is aware of the fleeting nature of crushes: “So hard to enjoy the time you’re in/Cause when it starts being comfortable, yeah, it’s ending/Yeah it’s ending.”
The innocent energy of young love is captured by the sweet sound of fourth single “I Dare You,” while the “Seashore”-like build of “Fog” warns of the all-consuming nature of this love. The old school vibes of second single “Pumpkin” explore the true vulnerability in feeling so deeply for another person. The song references movies like Romeo and Juliet, The Notebook, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall as well as Night’s current relationship with 13 Reasons Why star Dylan Mynette with Night insisting, “Pumpkin, pumpkin, you’re gonna kill me.”
The bouncy “Stop and Go,” third single “Dress up,” and the softer rock sounds of “Dead Wrong,” kick off the downfall of the relationship. They kick up the energy with the frenetic “More Than a Month,” a track reminiscent of early Fratellis songs, that runs through the anxiety of not knowing what went wrong or if things can be fixed when their significant other ghosts them. The mood turns with “Go Love You,” an upbeat, celebratory breakup song. “You think you’re such a man but you’re just a little boy/I’m a grown-ass woman and I’m not your little toy,” Night sings, connecting the album to the self-assured feminism of Feel Your Feelings, Fool!.
The minor chords and self-aware lyrics of “The Game” explore the ridiculousness of modern dating, all while admitting that they themselves fall into the trap. “And tell me why it has to be so damn complicated/I’m thinking something, so why shouldn’t I say it?/All these rules seem so fucking dated,” Night sings, fed up with the run-around. Then there’s the rolicking punk guitar of “Has It Hit You?” and the fast-paced titular track “How Do You Love?” that accept and move on from the breakup, leaving the album on a high note.
How Do You Love? maintains the sound the Regrettes created for themselves with their debut, Feel Your Feelings, Fool!, with smooth harmonies on top of punk guitar riffs and blunt lyrics riddled with the perfect amount of profanity. You can even hear echoes of their debut on this album, with “Fog” building in the same way as “Seashore” and incorporating bold energy similar to that of “Juicebox” into “How Do You Love?.” The only drawback on the album is that the concept ends up overshadowing most of the songs; while all of the songs are solid tracks and the Regrettes successfully tell a detailed story of a relationship within a relatively short period of time, besides a few (“California Friends” and “How Do You Love?,” specifically) the tracks don’t really stand out as much individually–the album works better as a whole. The middle of the album runs together a bit musically, especially when compared to the more dynamic arrangement of the tracks on Feel Your Feelings, Fool!. Regardless of this, the album is still a great listening experience from start to finish, and it’s great to see that the band is taking their own advice from their first album–they’re going to feel their feelings, fool, and you should too.