My opinion of Belong can best be exemplified by my thought process when faced with the pause before the third chorus of “Heart in Your Heartbreak:”
“Ugh, I know exactly how this is gonna go. They’re just going to pause for a second to give a little bit of silent tension before they go back into the chorus of the song. I’m pretty sure I can guess exactly what they’ll do, too. The singer will go “She was the” and the drummer will hit the toms and snare three times before the rest of the band comes into the mix on “Heartbreak” and go through the exact same chorus that they’d been playing up to this point. Wait, the chorus hasn’t come in yet? Well I guess I—oh, no, there it is. That was a slightly longer than normal pause, though.”
While none of Belong is unpleasant, the album comes off as derivative and unoriginal far too often. The band is decent at writing pop songs, but rarely do they stick and the barely-there vocals of Kip Berman in addition to his tendency for lyrics of cheese-tastic John Hughes worship (“Everyone is gentle and gone / But everyone’s just everyone”) make it even harder to pay attention. I know a lot of people got a kick out of this group’s debut, but I don’t think anyone’s going to remember Belong any more than the majority of boring indie pop we are forced to sift through. There are some sporadic moments of greatness (the title track’s chord progression mostly), but I don’t think even the pseudo-prestige The Pains of Pure of Heart have gained will protect Belong from sinking out of the collective consciousness in a matter of months.