Today’s Song: Grouplove’s “Remember That Night” Embraces the Full Spectrum of Memory

Grouplove © JMH
Grouplove have an uncanny ability to be nostalgic and extremely present all at once, and their song “Remember That Night” is the culmination of that special quality.

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Grouplove have an uncanny ability to be nostalgic and extremely present all at once, and their single “Remember That Night” is the culmination of that special quality. Released a year after their third studio album (2016’s Big Mess) as an additional single, “Remember That Night” (Canvasback Music / Atlantic Records) is set apart with Hannah Hooper’s near-shouting vocals dominating the track all alone. This delayed release may indicate a new direction for the group, perhaps less frenzied and more mature. Without wasting a second, the song plunges into a memory and keeps us hooked all the way through. Still, lacking a male counterpart (literally and lyrically), the song’s sound is so different and yet so traditional Grouplove all at once.

You remember that night when I hit a red light
And you pulled up next to me?
We were two young cats feeling under attack
Just making out in the street
It felt so right, just you and I
Like this is something out of a dream
Since you been gone,
don’t know what I’ve done
You’re just something like a memory
Listen: “Remember That Night” – Grouplove


This is no “Tongue Tied” – Hooper’s voice is deeper, older, and darker. “Remember That Night” starts out with isolated vocals and aches with remembering. Emphatically punctuated lines and jumpy assonance make for a catchy start, while still reminding us some things seem so simply perfect in hindsight. It’s almost melancholic, and then the drum kicks in for the pre-chorus and just gets bigger from there. Hooper’s voice is always strong over the changing beat, which adds poignancy to the fact that every time she revisits “you remember that night,” it’s still her, alone.

As Grouplove progress to the chorus, the cascading percussion-heavy instrumental matches the escalating emotion.

Am I stupid or do I want you back?
I don’t know
Am I stupid or do I want you back?
Let me go
Big Mess - Grouplove

Big Mess – Grouplove

The first chorus is a desperate attempt for some kind of closure; Hooper doesn’t even know how she wants this to end. Implying it would be stupid to want someone back and begging to be let go paints a  clear picture that it’s time to move on. By providing so few specific details, it’s near impossible for this song not to be relatable in some way, and the second chorus demands to be sung along to until your voice cracks. If we were ever unsure that Grouplove’s melodic shrieking was unique to the band’s frontman (and Hooper’s partner) Christian Zucconi, we can undoubtedly confirm that is not the case:

I think I been here before
It doesn’t matter
Hold me back, I’m coming in for more
I’m feeling like it’s only the lonely
who know who we are
I think I been here before
It doesn’t matter
Hold me back, I’m coming in for more
I’m feeling like it’s only the lonely
who know who we are

When it seems like the song can’t build anymore, “I think I been here before,” is met with a slamming beat to top off the layers of sound. The palpable indecision thrusts the song forward and backward, toying with both outcomes as it builds up the tempo and then tears it right back down. Hooper knows it’s stupid – but she’s coming back for more. The most captivating thing about this song is how swiftly it jumps between quietly wondering what could’ve been, and running headfirst into the past: The full spectrum of remembering.

By the time we get to the bridge, the tone around “Remember That Night” has shifted. We’re remembering that night as it was then and as things are now because they can’t be separated so easily. Grouplove have moved away from their Foster the People / Passion Pit vibe of the past, and now that we know Hooper’s voice has been underused for the past three albums, where they go next is completely up in the air.

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Remember That Night - Grouplove

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Grouplove’s Big Mess Explores Mature Emotion

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