Nella Vita: meaning “in life” in Italian.
After a long road and no lack of promotion or anticipation, Grayscale’s Nella Vita (their sophomore album with Fearless Records) is finally here and we are beyond in love with it. Each track is a journey of emotions and tells just one piece of the story that is the band’s life over the last few years. Stemming directly from the love and loss they’ve collectively experienced, this album is sure to send you through a roller coaster of emotions so we definitely recommend getting tissues and making sure you have a safe space to cry and dance through each song on Nella Vita.
“From the production to the artwork Nella Vita is an overall masterpiece. From beginning to end the tack list is in perfect order, making the transition from each song seamless.”
Tracy | @gonwitoutaTRACE
The album came together during a five-week-period early this year when the band—Collin Walsh (vocals), Dallas Molster (guitar, vocals), Andrew Kyne (guitar), Nick Ventimiglia (bass), and Nick Veno (drums)— isolated themselves in a barn in Texas with their producer, MACHINE, and creative director, Jordan Mizrahi there to document the entire experience. Taking the first week of their time together to really focus on their live performance and honing in on how that should impact their songwriting, then focusing on the importance of every single word and what specific emotions each one elicits. MACHINE was determined to fully understand and empathize everything Collin was feeling throughout the writing process of every track.
Each song is written as a diary entry, one piece of a bigger story. The album, as a whole, tells the story of all the emotions and experiences one goes through in life (get it?). Whether that be heartbreak, love, loss, grief, sex, addiction, pain, joy, and everything else in between. The lyrics conjure up powerful imagery woven throughout every single line. The music and melodies leave us feeling like Nella Vita would be the result if The 1975 and Mayday Parade had a magical musical baby, but keeping the tongue-in-cheek spirit of the Grayscale guys we know and love.
Immediately launching into the vulnerability that this record so wonderfully displays, “Just Right” is a track that sounds the way your head feels after you’ve just gotten off the Scrambler at the state fair. Reflecting back on a time of young love and post-sex promises in the back of a car, the lyrics recall a time when their writer felt most alive and at home. It’s a bitter-sweet tale of moving on, but missing what once was. With softer vocals from Collin perfectly nailing the hazy feel of the entire track, then melting into those found on a typical pop-punk record, it’s setting up listeners for the blend of sounds to come on the rest of Nella Vita.
The fourth single, “Baby Blue,” came to be known as track two and it’s bringing us all the old school jukebox vibes. Telling the all-too-familiar story of letting something petty get in the way of an important relationship, the band looks back on what could have been. With a music video taking place in the hospital, the guys sporting matching baby blue suits while they jam out in the ICU, it’s a sure-fire bop that we can’t wait to witness live.
The album immediately rolls into “In Violet” which was the announcing single for the entire album. Upon witnessing a lot of death over the last few years, the song came as a call for celebration when the time comes for Walsh to move on from this life. No tears or mourning; just loved ones coming together and dancing, celebrating, singing, and everyone wearing violet. While a slightly morbid topic, Grayscale approaches it with understanding and tenderness. The music video features loved ones being reunited after one’s passing and the band is pummeled with purple dust during their performance in front of a church.
A bold cry to our generation and the next, “YOUNG” begs us to be better. This current obsession with coming off as uninterested in everything and a need to be “cool” is ruining our ability to be vulnerable and make important emotional connections. With an experimental talk-singing bridge, this track is sure to serve as an anthem for years to come, especially as people realize how important it is to feel things fully.
“I’ve been driving with the windows down, blasting this album and I’ve never felt more alive.”
With a drum-heavy focus on their promise to cover all life’s experiences and with a snippet of female vocals, “Twilight (My Heaven)” comes in as one of the instrumentally heavier songs on the record. A fun, upbeat track featuring metaphors and similies galore that seem to be sharing the exact experience of a frantic lust-ridden hook-up. Cheeky nods to wanting to be back within that moment fill every space the drums don’t. These Philly guys sure know how to create a jam, no matter the subject.
Laced with raw emotion and nostalgia, “Old Friends” takes the listener on a journey of what it’s like to lose a loved one and wish for one more moment with them. In this melancholy tune that dropped as the album’s third single, the tiny details make all the difference. The fading vocals and overlay of children’s laughter only add to the impact of the overall sound, calling for tissues and a good cry as Walsh’s sorrowful vocals fade away.
Track #7, “Painkiller Weather,” originally dropped as a standalone single, prior to any album news. The poppy, dance along melody contrasts the darker tones of loving someone with an addiction. Whether it’s a friend, parent, or significant other, their addiction will always come first and there comes a time when you begin to realize that you’re not on the top of their priority list and never will be. It’s a difficult pill to swallow, but one you’ll be better for in the end. The video features sunny scenes alongside a lake and the guys jamming out at a show.
Following the leading single with an electronic dance club beat, “What’s On Your Mind” illustrates the push and shove of a toxic relationship during its last few strands before shifting into the ballad of the album, “Asbury.” It’s one last-ditch effort, one last fond memory before allowing everything to fall apart. The untouched recording that allows every scratch of the guitar strings to be heard only adds to the gut-wrenching emotion behind the track itself. Collin’s voice carries a certain rasp that leaves the listener feeling his pain as the story of young lovers falls apart before our eyes.
“Feels like a lifetime
I couldn’t let go
Said, “Col, let’s have one day
alone, wherever you want to
go, that’s where we’ll go.
One day to share
love and revoke
To settle silence, seek
penance, say woes.“
Track 9 | Asbury
Considering all of the emotional build-up within “Asbury,” “Desert Queen” rolls right in like a breath of fresh air. The circling beat and desperate lyrics leave us all dreaming of that dry Arizona heat, especially as we begin to approach to colder days of fall. It’s a solid banger that falls right in line with the theme of the rest of the album, while still finding a way to successfully stand on its own and tell a unique story within its lyrics.
“Nella Vita explores a dynamic range of emotions throughout the lyrics of the songs, pairing upbeat rhythms with sadder lyrics but also having acoustic tracks to match.”
Kristen | @KristenZarra
“In My Arms” really pulls in those The 1975 vibes we mentioned earlier. It’s an ambitious track that puts Walsh’s vocal range on display, from high notes to talk-singing and “na na nas” filling our ears. It also is a great example of the talent that lies within their guitarists (Kyne and Molster), bassist (Ventimiglia), and drummer (Veno). Track #11 is giving fans a much funkier version of that generic pop-punk band and we couldn’t support it more. With a balance of intense emotions and possible references to drug use, it’s what Grayscale does best: dealing with hard-hitting topics by combining them with pop beats.
Not letting up on the visuals, the final piece of the puzzle is one that hits the hardest. “Tommy’s Song” is the beautifully haunting product of all the pain and grief Collin Walsh experienced after losing his cousin last year. Beginning with a single piano and raw vocals, this is one that requires time to process and fully understand the weight of every lyric. Every bit of rasp and switch in tone hits just right at that moment, piling on the effects it has on its listener before building to an echoing chorus and finishing with a theatrical crescendo.
“I saw angels there
holding your hands
And I pray that it didn’t
hurt too badly my friend
I’ll see you soon,
it’s not the end“
Track 12 | Tommy’s Song
As the final words of Nella Vita slowly fade out, we fully encourage you to read along and allow yourself to feel each and every syllable of the message as it falls from Collin’s lips. We guarantee it’s one you won’t forget.
Talk to the ones you love before it’s too late...
“Lyrically and melodically remarkable.”
Alicia | @Brookstills
The tiny details make this album whole; from the children in the backing tracks and the scratches of the guitar strings to the raw vocals and the life-altering messages hidden beneath a gospel choir, it wouldn’t work as well as it does without every single aspect. Each tiny bit adds to how heavily the lyrics weigh on the heart of its listeners, while also leaving us wanting to dance. It’s an incredible thing, unique to Grayscale themselves.
We can’t wait to dance our pain away with the guys on their current headlining tour.
In My Arms
Twilight (My Heaven)
Images and videos: Jordan Mizrahi