Freshman Underdog - Turning Leaves // Versa Reviews

Freshman Underdog - Turning Leaves // Versa Reviews

Freshman Underdog: Turning Leaves

A track by track review written by VersaReviews (Steven Olsson II)

Turning Leaves is the debut EP from Midwest Pop-Punk band Freshman Underdog; consisting of members John Hillman, Jordan Kindshoven, John Webb, Brandon Webb, and Joe Duprey. This EP is the first non-single release by the band which hails from Southeastern Michigan, and has 5 songs,running 19 total minutes.


Track List:


End of May

Something More

Turning Leaves




FOMO: (3:05)

Talk about attention grabbing.

This song was the first single of the album to be released along with an accompanying music video (

The first track of the EP kicks off the same way that you would expect from a Pop-Punk band. The shouting of FOMO (fear of missing out) and quick riffs and drum beats expected of a Pop-Punk band. Quicker drums and chord patterns that lead into a nice bass groove as the vocals join the fray. “I’m everybody’s one that got away. I wanna be the one that’s here to stay…” leads the chorus and is super catchy, making me want to sing along. I also love the addition of the “FOMO” chants throughout the tune. Just about 2/3 into the song, we’re treated with an Easycore-esque breakdown with chuggy guitars and bass over a simple drum beat and drawn out vocal notes. It adds a nice transition into the outro as the song ends together, after another repeat of the chorus, on a single note. (4/5)


End of May: (4:04)

End of May is definitely the heartbreaker on the EP. The soft intro puts you right in the feels as Hillman serenades with “so what do I have to do, to finally be through with you?” The music fades out and comes right back in with the energy of the full band. The transitions between chorus and verse are spot on in this tune. This is also the first time we really get to see the range of Hillman as he goes from the soft, almost spoken, lines of the intro into the standard Pop-Punk style, then into a raspy shout and back. The pattern of the instruments really addsan element of empathy. This song will speak to anyone that’s gone through a breakup, especially if it that person moved on quickly. “I hope that you can find in him what you couldn’t find in me,” is such a selfless line that really drives the track home. This is one of my favorites. (4/5)


Something More: (2:57)

The third track brings back that sound you would expect. Quick and punchy verses and cleaner choruses. This song is your “get out of this town,” song that’s been stereotypically roped into the genre, which isn’t a bad thing. To get back into the chorus, if you don’t jump along, you’re lying to yourself. This is the song that everyone will relate to because everyone wants more for themselves. The drum beat with the beginning lines of the outro chorus is a perfect way to kick start the ending, but the soft singing as it fades out is really the icing on the cake. (5/5)



Turning Leaves: (4:46)

Yes, the titular track and second single ( bridging the first and second half of the EP and it’s the perfect spot for a song like this. The absolute ballad of the effort. Acoustic guitars and the high-pitched singing really brought me on an emotional ride. This isn’t your typical song about someone passing away. It just hits different, stayed away from a lot of the cliché Losing someone is never easy, especially when it’s to that C word that haunts so many families, mine included. This song really is amazing from the first note all the way through and I think making this song acoustic was 100% the right move. The line “So I tried to talk to God and ask him, ask him for a little help. But I came to the realization he’s busy helping somebody else,” really struck a heart chord as I have also been in that situation so many times. The addition of the piano really adds another element to the song, which already is bringing out the emotional side of me. I could go on and on about this track, but just sit back and listen to the 4:50 of beauty. (5/5)


ILYstill: (3:52)

And we’re back into a poppier track with a lot less punk. ILYstill is that song where you just sit back and vibe to. This feels like it’s a follow up to End of May as the heartbreak is still wearing on the subject. Only now, it’s later on and this is to the one that got away. The three-minute mark hits a transition in the vocal style, and I think that if the verses were all done with this grit to it, it would have made the song so much more powerful. As well as the chorus sounds, I think the verse was lacking something, and it’s the grit that is added at the end of the song. “It’s been so f**king lonely without you this year,” fades out with radio static to bring it all to a close. (4/5)




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