Learning “How To Be Human” from Amber Run in Their Fourth Studio Album

On Feb. 24, the London-based band, Amber Run, released their fourth studio album, How To Be Human via TRIPEL, giving audiences across the globe an introspective view into the human experience.

The thirteen-track album emerges from three EPs, The Search (Act I), The Start (Act II), and The Hurt (Act III). These EPs merge into the coming of age album, How To Be Human, essentially creating a guidebook on the stages of human life and how to navigate through them all. Speaking on the origin of the album, frontman and guitarist Joe Keogh stated:

“You know those annoying emails you get that are like, ‘How to become a millionaire in one month,’ or ‘How to get abs in six seconds,’ I was like I wish someone would just tell me how to get by and live on the center line and how to just continue.”

Frontman/Guitarist Joe Keough

Photo Credit: Jordan Curtis Hughes

Starting the album is the track, “Flowers (Interlude I).” Only fifty-four seconds long, “Flowers (Interlude I) makes an impact as the first track with slow piano accompanied with short and sweet lyrics. 

Opening with deeply interpersonal lyrics, the track, “Hurt,” comes next. This track does a wonderful job with empathizing with an audience. “Hurt” delves into that emotion and helplessness that follows it but it also lends a guiding hand to listeners– letting them know that there is someone on their side.

“When the hurt is a hundred miles long / And your shadow weighs a ton / And your river has run dry / And you think you’d rather die / When the water pulls you under / I’ll wrap my arms around you/ I’ll hold you while you cry / And in the dark I’ll be your eyes”

Lyrics of “Hurt”

Following the same mellow beat, yet uplifting message, comes “Honeylight,” one of the band’s singles released on Feb. 10. This track is all about simply trying. Despite what that might mean to the individual listener, in creating “Honeylight,” Amber Run acknowledges the difficulty in pushing through hard times yet trying to preserve through it.

“Funeral” is introduced with a somber piano, no doubt from the talented Henry Wyeth, the band’s keyboard player. As the title of this track suggests, this is a song about dealing with the tragedy of losing loved ones, especially at a young age. The chorus is emphasized with intensified bass and beautiful harmonies. As the song progresses, the chorus gets more intense until the end, suggesting that in the end, we must accept this sullen human experience–death.

With a more uplifting beat, “I Hope It’s Not Like This Forever,” brings in a turn for more hopefulness. This track is about love and finding it during the most drab parts of life. The lyrics of this song are interesting as Keogh sings about how boring and sad his life is until he meets this perfect stranger and that’s when hopefulness knocks on his front door.

The next track, “Ride,” can be compared to the second track on the album, “Hurt.” This track is a blend of melodies and acoustic guitar sharing a beautiful message to audiences. “Ride” is a track that announces clearly, you may be going through tough times but, there is someone always by your side–you are not alone.

“Struggling to breathe and stay alive / But, no you’re not the only one / Treading water / So ride, ride / Crest wave and fly / And I’ll be right beside you” 

Lyrics of “Ride”

Moving piano instrumentals opens the second interlude of the album, “Lovers (Interlude II).” The deeply moving lyrics of this interlude suggest that this interlude is a continuation of “Flowers (Interlude I).”

“How To Be Human” is the next track on the album and encapsulates the tracks that came before it and acknowledges that these are all parts of being human. This track, and quite frankly the entire album, does what most guidebooks don’t–it recognizes the good with the bad. A mix of guitar, drum and harmonies, “How To Be Human” is a relieving and freeing track.

Next up is the track, “I Miss You.” This track opens up with fast paced beats and piano which almost contradicts the somber mood suggested by the title and lyrics. Each time the lyrics, “I miss you” come up they are punctuated and slowed down allowing that feeling to sink in with listeners. Whether or not this track is meant to be a sad song is up for debate, however what we know for sure is that the band nails down that bittersweet feeling of missing someone.

“The Beautiful Victorious” is a lively track seeming to take instrumental inspiration from the 80s. The electric guitar and steady beat of the drum keep listeners head bobbing and the lyrics are an ode to remembrance. This is a track about 

Taking a turn with a cozy acoustic guitar and slowed down lyrics, “Always Blue,” comes next. While many of the tracks that came before it talk about loving others and being there for others, “Always Blue” is a track that recognizes that they can also be loved and taken care of. 

“The Start” opens with futuristic beats and instrumentals and promising lyrics. Also taking instrumental inspiration from the 80’s, as they sing about truly living and coming into a new light. This track paints a picture of exciting nightlife and being reborn. 

The final song of this album, “The Last Dance” slows things down. It opens with soft instrumentals and slowly introduces soft vocals. As the song progresses, listeners get a beautiful message of capturing every single moment and appreciating it deeply. 

Although the album has come to a close, the messages stick with listeners long after the last track. Overall, How To Be Human dives deeply into the human experience and connects with the individual listener through each track. Let us know what you think of the album in the comments below!

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Alexis Badger is a recent college graduate from Georgia Southern University, with a Bachelor of Arts in Writing and Linguistics and Multimedia Journalism. She has a passion for writing through creative avenues. For more about Alexis, visit her LinkedIn below.
Alexis Badger is a recent college graduate from Georgia Southern University, with a Bachelor of Arts in Writing and Linguistics and Multimedia Journalism. She has a passion for writing through creative avenues. For more about Alexis, visit her LinkedIn below.

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