The Promise Ring - Boys + Girls (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Promise Ring

Boys + Girls (1998)

Jade Tree

Given their penchant for poppy hooks, it's no surprise the Promise Ring's EPs rival their full-lengths in consistency. This was a band that could toss out (underground) singles at a rapid clip, and Boys + Girls, released in between titanic achievements Nothing Feels Good and Very Emergency, stands as proof of such talent.

"Tell Everyone We're Dead," a winking reference to a bad car wreck the band survived, is one of the catchiest TPR songs ever. If you want to understand why kids dig the emos, try on this monstrously catchy chorus. Really, the whole song is one big invitation to sing along. Frontman Davey von Bohlen always had a knack for rhyme schemes, but the lines "I'm gonna grow wings and sing / ‘Amen, I'm checking out'" is one of his best couplets. Lyrically, it's a total bummer. Musically, it's a gem.

"Best Looking Boys" is another peppy, rocking number. It's a little more immediate in tempo, and the guitar/vocal hook on the bridge is tops. Again, this is great indie rock, endlessly catchy and warm. But "American Girl (version 02)" closes out the EP on a mellower note. Arguably just a guitar interlude with a whisper of a song buried inside it, "American Girl (version 02)" is like a two-minute, 36-second palate cleanser. While the track is perhaps a bit more accessible in its fleshed out, Electric Pink version, it still offers up a more haunting version of TPR, retroactively hinting at the Wood/Water era. In a way, then, Boys + Girls is an ideal starting point for curious folks, as it covers the band's two sounds, and is wicked cheap/awesome.