“We can dance, one last time.” – “One Last Time”
Endings are part of every human experience. Hollerado, a Canadian band with a long musical career, having played more than 2,000 shows in 12 years, is ending its storied journey. In an industry known for short careers, these band members are survivors. And now they are ending on their own terms, releasing one final album and going on a farewell tour. Fans are invited to join in as band members, including lead singer Menno Versteeg, process and grieve.
Early in its career, Hollerado’s music was loud, quirky and rebellious. The music has matured with the band, though hints of its earlier youthful energy still remains.
Hollerado members wants their final ten recorded songs to be full of meaning, so “Retaliation Vacation” covers a lot of different topics. Beginning with an acoustic track, “Straight to Hell” confronts the harm of strict religious doctrine. Right off the bat, Hollerado takes a stand and then offers a humble prayer for peace and vulnerability:
“Oh let there be a softness
Let our weakness glow
We are all your choir let us sing
‘Cause one day we all leave here with nothing left to show.”
Not shy of engaging controversial topics, Hollerado moves from religion to gun violence. “Speechless” explores the emotions of a school shooting and uses the voices of children for added impact. “Days Without Sugar” looks at society’s infatuation with restricting sugar consumption from the perspective of those who love sugar the most: children. The listener can imagine this song being used as a protest anthem in schools across the country.
The theme that ties the entire album together is time. Acutely aware of the band’s ending, they bring the finiteness of time to the forefront. The band described the song, “Time On Earth,” as being about “getting old and dying.” There is a beauty to how time is valued in the song. It is seen as one of the most precious resources humans have. “All I’ve got to give you is my time on earth, baby.”
As the album draws to a close, Hollerado sets the listener up for a final good-bye. “One Last Time” is a farewell song that masterfully embodies a nostalgic energy. The song becomes a symbol of all endings big and small. Long after Hollerado walks off the stage for good, listeners will be using this song to process their own personal endings.
Endings and the limits of time are part of the human experience. “Retaliation Vacation” offers a unique perspective of a band grappling with their own ending. They show courage in facing this reality head on. They reveal a maturity and vulnerability that is inspiring to others who are faced with an impending ending. All good things eventually end, and despite what may lay ahead, we can all “dance one last time.” (Royal Mountain Records)