There’s a difference between having fun and being happy, says Justin Young. And in the space between fun and happiness lies the sixth Vaccines album, Pick-Up Full of Pink Carnations. It’s a record that drips with fun – 10 songs in just over half an hour, packed with hooks and melodies and pop smarts – but which explores the way real life lets us down, no matter what we tell the world on our Instagram stories.
“It’s about loss,” Young says. “And coming to terms with that loss – not necessarily grieving for it, but trying to get a new understanding of it. I don’t just mean in a romantic sense.”
The album’s title comes from a misremembered lyric in Don McLean’s American Pie (“I was a lonely teenage broncin’ buck / With a pink carnation in a pick-up truck”), which sparked a train of thought. “I was living in LA while writing this record, and American Pie is a song about disillusionment with America and the American dream, and his feeling that something had died. I guess I was coming to terms with similar things – my understanding of what the real West Coast of America was, after growing up on a diet of American pop culture. That was all coming to a head as various relationships were ending, and Freddie [Cowan, guitar] was leaving the band. That was the seed of it. It’s about the loss of dreams.”