Our Take: The Dreamy Depths of Tennis’ Magical ‘We Can Die Happy’ EP

We Can Die Happy - Tennis
We Can Die Happy - Tennis

Mitch's Take

I can be true to you, even when losing
Every little thing I’ve ever known
And all of the love I’ve ever show
Something like pleasure, you’d never believe it
Every little need dismantling
Recorded by the needle of an EKG
– “I Miss That Feeling,” Tennis

Magic is in the air on Tennis’ brand new EP. A warm, dynamic explosion of spellbinding melodies, evocative soundscapes and intimate lyrics, We Can Die Happy pulls listeners deep into the band’s dreamy world and never lets us go.

Listen: ‘We Can Die Happy‘ – Tennis

Out now on the band’s own independent label Mutually Detrimental (via Thirty Tigers), We Can Die Happy is an unexpected, but pleasant surprise from Tennis, who independently released their fourth album Yours Conditionally just seven months ago. The EP finds the wife-husband duo of Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley basking in the afterglow of a worthwhile risk that could not have gone better: Going fully independent. Yours Conditionally was a test for Tennis, and though they didn’t come out and say so on the album, its music certainly tapped into existing frustrations and tensions – several songs explore the individual’s relationship with external forces, and the fight for control of the narrative.

The record has been Tennis’ most successful release, performing particularly well on vinyl – where it charted in the mid-year’s top ten list of best-selling albums, in-between Prince and the Revolution’s Purple Rain and Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon. Tennis are in good company, and their EP certainly reflects something of a celebratory atmosphere.

We Can Die Happy - Tennis
We Can Die Happy – Tennis
It’s starting all over again
I feel my heart beat quickening
Anachronistic, a young mystic
He’s prowling around in the night
Under a shadow wherever we go
Whatever I need to survive
We go down down to the deep void
Right back into place, I can breathe again
We go down down to the beat boy
Right back into place
From where we are,
we’re never gonna come back
– “No Exit,” Tennis

Still, don’t let an exultant title fool you: We Can Die Happy is not a “happy-go-lucky” record. Tennis take a big sigh of relief, and then, with refreshed gusto, continue to dive deep into human emotions, internal and external relationships, society’s norms, and more. Take, for example, “Diamond Rings” – an introspective review of marriage from Moore’s female perspective.

I’ve been looking at your diamond rings
And reflecting on the things they tell me
That they move too quick to misbehave
A dissenter cannot be a slave
I’m waiting on you to make my heart move
Baby, won’t you come into me
Come and make my heart move
– “Diamond Rings,” Tennis

The song is intense, but lilting and fun at the same time. If you’re not paying attention, Moore’s poetry might fly past you altogether – but a careful listen results in a much more intimate experience. Tennis embody this deep/fun dichotomy throughout their record – as a band, it’s one of their many strengths. Lead single “I Miss That Feeling” – around which the EP was written and recorded – dances with the individual’s connection to anxiety, suggesting one might get more out of embracing their flaws than by trying to overcome or suppress them.

How to explain it or even contain it
When I feel that ragged edge descend
My heart splits open like a vent
Something like pleasure, you’d never believe it
Every little thing starts trembling
Recorded by the needle of an EKG

“I Miss That Feeling” – Tennis

All in all, We Can Die Happy is a clever, colorful and catchy invitation to bask in the vibrance that is Tennis’ spirited sound. Whether you take the record as Yours Conditionally Pt. 2 or as a standalone set of songs, Tennis’ new EP is a magical end-of-year gift – something totally out of the blue and unexpected, promising endless enjoyment and worth every repeated listen. Earning a 9.9 out of 10 for us, We Can Die Happy‘s only drawback is its brevity – clocking in at a quick seventeen minutes, the record is but a brief dip in and out of Tennis’ pool.

Stay tuned for Atwood Magazine’s exclusive interview with Alaina Moore, and dig deeper into Tennis’ music below!

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:: stream/purchase We Can Die Happy here ::

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We Can Die Happy - Tennis

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