This article contains mentions of sexual harassment.

2021 is off to a rocking start with “Blame Game,” the fifth EP from Chicago indie-pop band Beach Bunny. Released on Jan. 15, the 4-track project is the latest EP since their critically-acclaimed debut studio album “Honeymoon.” Since frontwoman Lili Trifilio formed Beach Bunny in 2015, the band has revitalized its early sound with lyrics that reflect the realities of the late 2010s. Trifilio’s robust melodies combined with the project’s superb instrumentation and quality production make the EP a strong addition to the band’s discography and the perfect addition to a road trip or pool-side kickback (when things return to normal and the weather warms up). The energetic, youthful sound of tracks like “Love Sick” and “Nice Guys” feels both nostalgic and new, while tracks like “Good Girls (Don’t Get Used)” and “Blame Game” contain messages about self-respect and address the problems of sexual harassment and victim blaming.

Beach Bunny follows in a long line of women-fronted bands that rock all the way out and are unapologetically awesome. Although still seemingly underrated, they are on the come up and I can see them growing to a level of Paramore-fame given the consistent quality of their music and incredible live performances. Trifilio’s talent lies in her ability to take a catchy tune and implant a compelling message that the youth can relate to. 

“Good Girls (Don’t Get Used)” sticks out as a track that epitomizes the band’s radiant, positive energy. The thumping kick drum, atmospheric crash cymbals and loud, uplifting guitar chords make one want to jump around. On top of the sonic goodness of this tune, listeners are graced with lyrics like, “stop saying, ‘it’s my bad,’ you’re acting like your deadbeat dad,” and the titular line, “good girls don’t get used.”

“Blame Game,” the EP’s titular and most prominent track, attacks the double standard when it comes to sexual harrasment. Trifilio sings, “we’re taught we’re only meant to act holy, cover up your shoulders or you might tempt somebody.” The booming hook — “guess it’s my fault my body’s fun to stare at, sorry my clothes can’t keep your hands from grabbing” — is a cynical and sharp critique of how women are accused of welcoming sexual assault instead of men not being taught to control their urges. The song itself is a step in the right direction for voicing women’s frustrations with the status quo.

Where a song like “Blame Game” tackles wider societal issues, “Love Sick” is more of a straightforward summer jam with a bouncy bassline and shiny funk guitar licks. The hook voices a jadedness that anyone can relate to after a heartbreak: “Sick of love, I’m tired of the bullshit.” However, I don’t believe it is on par with “Blame Game” or “Good Girls” in terms of catchiness or melody. 

Each track on “Blame Game” feels like a self-contained story that fits into an overarching message about self acceptance and not settling for less, be it in a relationship or as a woman in society. Trifilio’s stellar songwriting can make some songs feel like two or even three songs tied into one, which gives the entire project huge replayability. Miss this EP at your own expense.