New album ‘Pep Talks’ raw, intimate portrayal of personal hardships

by Seth Hall

Alcoholism, divorce, and hard times can always be overcome. These are themes seen in new music from up-and-coming band Judah and the Lion.

When I first heard Judah and the Lion, I was 13-years-old and music wasn’t yet a major part of my life. The band had this unique style that I had never truly heard before. As I got older, the band released more music. This music became known by the band as folk hop n roll, and it was absolutely amazing. They combined sounds of folk, bluegrass, rock, hip-hop, and electronic production to create something people had never heard before, and it was a success! 

The band had great success in recent years. With their most recent release titled “Pep Talks,” the band is where they dreamed of being. In the past, much of the band’s music was uplifting and positive. But with “Pep Talks,” that all changes. The topic of struggles, divorce and alcoholism among them, floods the album as the family life of singer-guitarist Judah Akers  began falling apart.

Songs such as “Why Did You Run?” and “I’m OK” truly capture the struggles he faced with his family. His mother, who is a struggling alcoholic, was arrested and needed help with bail. The song “Why Did You Run” is about how Akers reached out for help from his dad and instead his father ran away from his family for an affair. The song is very sad in the sense that both of his parents are failing him and leaving him to figure things out on his own.

The song “I’m OK” starts with how his parents are divorced and people are asking him is if he is OK. He explains how he has been on the road touring, but when he gets home he wonders if he is depressed. The song continues with the same line until the he begins to realize he is not OK and how he has put on a happy face and needs help.

Many of the songs throughout the album are very personal and tackle the struggles of Akers’ life, yet there is a glimmer of light throughout the tracks. Songs titled “7000x” and “Alright” are about all of the positives there are on the other side. No matter how bad things get, things will be alright. 

When I listen to music, it can affect my mood drastically. Listening to Judah and the Lion puts me in a really happy, upbeat mood. Music is a huge part of my life, and bands such as Judah and the Lion offer music to people like me who can use music for more than just entertainment. 

The message may seem sad at first, but the band’s ability to always have light at the end of the journey is very prominent. I hope to hear more and more music created by this band, and I hope more people discover them. Music like this is what can get people going through a lot of struggles.

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