Album Review: 'Belong' by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

May 13, 2011

Peggy Wang of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart appears in a fashion spread for our Bittersweet Issue. Photo by Hatnim Lee.


The wait is almost over -- Hyphen’s Bittersweet Issue hits newsstands and mailboxes across America this weekend! And what better way to get hyped than with a little sneak peek?

This issue, we’re excited to introduce a gorgeous full-color fashion spread with special guest model Peggy Wang, keyboard player and vocalist for the NYC indie pop band The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Peggy is also a senior editor at Buzzfeed, where she curates a pretty hilarious string of posts on pop cultural ephemera. How she’ll juggle this and her upcoming summer world-touring schedule is anybody’s guess. One day, she might have to choose one over the other... and the result will certainly be bittersweet.

Check out this Hyphen original album review of The Pains’ sophomore album Belong, released in March 2011. Writer Ashley Schleeper, who also wrote the print story that accompanies Peggy’s fashion shoot, shares her views on the album’s sound, and how to carry it with you in style:

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart have been known in the past as the go-to Brooklyners to provide a riff of nostalgia at many a house party. Past releases, like their 'Higher Than the Stars' EP, count on heady chorus lines to round out songs like “Falling Over.” Such is also the case with their debut self-titled album. Since their inception in 2007, The Pains have been flexing their muscles and slowly growing out of their pre-pop britches.  Their most recent album, 'Belong,' nails the nostalgic sounds they're known for, while checking the too-sweet chorus lines at the door. The band’s new album plays like cotton candy -- light, airy, dissolving quickly on the tongue, and leaving the listener with a perpetual sugar high.


'Belong' is the perfect springtime album to listen to in a car, on the beach, with the windows open, or on the street with a popsicle and some good peeps. From zippy tracks such as “Heart in Your Heartbreak” to wispy, melancholic tracks like “Anne with an E,” The Pains deliver a jam for everyone, from the Gameboy-wielding teen, to the bitter urbanite, to the road-biking hipster. If the music world were a jean jacket, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart would be a button for every self-respecting music maven to rock with pride on their breast pocket.

Hyphen’s Bittersweet Issue comes out this Sunday, May 15. Pick up a copy, along with The Pains’ Belong, and your picnic basket will be all-set and ready-to-go for spring! For a quick lesson in The Pains' brand of airy dreampop, peep the videos below:


Nicole Wong

Senior Editor

Nicole Wong is a senior editor for Hyphen living in San Francisco. By day, she's a media engagement strategist at Active Voice, tackling social issues through the creative use of film.