A band being named Drawing Boards must have the intention of being idea filled and messy. A Drawing Board is never the end product; it is the start of something new. A place where creativity is scattered, lines are drawn, and something is born. What came from the band Drawing Board was a 12 track rock album- The Message. The Message takes you along the loop of falling in and out of love. The main singer of Drawing Boards is male, but throughout the album a female vocalist appears every once in a while to add soft harmonies and play the part of the love interest. The vocals are light throughout the entire piece and the instruments are very distinguishable. Drawing Boards is not afraid of pattern and made it a staple to end their songs instrumental; with a one liner every now and then to fully cap it off.The album feels alive, but not attention seeking. Even though each track signifies a different stage in a relationship, they all seem to blend as one encapsulating the relationship as a whole period of time.
The first track emulates the feeling of highschool love. Naming the song and referring to the love interest as “Queen Bee” seems to follow the cliche of Ms.Popular and the misfit. The line “queen bee I didn’t know” is the mark of initial attraction. The instrumental is simple as this is just the beginning and we are introduced to both protagonists.
“The Thrill” is the feeling of getting to know someone new. “I never know what you’re trying to say…I never know what you mean to me” There is a rush to figure out everything about this person because up until now they’ve been a fantasy and with each thing you learn they become more real. The new upbeat tempo matches this feeling of excitement. This is one of the only songs where the vocals continue to the very end of the song.
In the song “The Message” the lyric “nobody knows the message to your heart” is the harsh reality that, no matter how hard you try, someone can block you out. Our male protagonist, stumped by this, recounts everything he knows about his love interest and figures out how trivial facts about a person can be when you don’t know the context of them personally. The mood of this song is dampened. The female vocals only come in to reiterate that “nobody knows the message.” This may be a signifier of her own battle to figure out what she wants.
“Poor Bentley” is the turning point in where the female protagonist finally lets go, with the lyric “and nothing really matters anymore.” She no longer is afraid of their relationship and gives into love. The beat is lively as the two voices split the verse and chorus.
If this were a movie, “Day El Topo ” is the song that plays in the background as a montage of their relationship whips across the screen. After the chase, they have finally reached the finish line, but what do you do once you get the prize? In our male protagonist’s case the marathon continues as he sings, “I can go for miles with you.”
“What’s Your Name?” is a continuation of their uphill, upbeat, momentum. The question, “What’s Your Name?” is a symbol of all introductory questions. We listen as they get to know each other better, but they know that as each day passes they grow into different people. This constant mystery of the other person is shown in the line, “I can’t get to, get to know you it’s okay.”
“How You Fall” feels like a more worn down version of “Whats Your Name?” The instrumental is more stripped back, and the voices are singing to each other instead of with each other. There are parts in the song that sound very discordal and opposing. The lyrics are one sided where the male protagonist is asking all the questions while the female protagonists always answers, “love is how you fall.” The effort/relationship has once again become one-sided.
The whole song “Barbados” is filled with symbolism. “I got lost in barbados with my friend amos” Barbados is supposed to be love/relationships that overtake your life. He no longer knows who he is and references his parents a lot in this song as if trying to connect back to his roots. Amos is any love interest. He is now bitter towards romance and sings “you can find it in a store.. Next door” in reference to (famous) amos (cookies).” Love is anywhere, and one person is not that special or worth it.
“Cover song” sounds like a spiral. He again references his mom throughout this song, illustrating this image of “I told you so’s” He is regretting his relationship and wishes that someone was there to have steered him a different direction. Even so, he accepts the fact that he can’t change his past with the line, “anyways it’s okay, now.”
“UFO’s” was their chosen single before their album drop. The UFO is the alien feeling that comes after their relationship has ended. Our male protagonist is more stable at this point, but still has a weakness for his now ex. The song begins with the two leads finishing each other’s sentences to show how they are still connected. Unable to identify where they stand with each other, they try to go back to how things were because that’s what’s familiar to them.
“Insides Out” starts right away with a duet, leaving us questioning if they are back together again. But in contrast, there are more questions with lyrics, “All you really wanted was to feel like this again,” versus “I can barely feel your body.” This makes it feel unreal like they are reaching for something/someone that is no longer there. As if this feeling is just a remembrance of the past. The song is bleak and the voices are low. The soft voices might be because there is no point in screaming when no one’s close enough to listen.
“Clouds Move Backwards” is the final song on the album. It is a melancholic melody where the two protagonists accept the end of their relationship. When our male protagonist sings “you won’t let me get under your skin,” he shows that now they are to the point where they don’t even fight anymore. He is back to being shut out of her life, but this time he is okay with it. He prove this by singing, “I can’t be what you want me to be, but it’s okay I don’t have to”
— Maddy Hwang