We all have, or maybe are, that one sulking friend who stands out in the group, woefully declaring themselves an enigma, separate from peers and society at large. In their most recent single, Pity Party, the California-based roman around embraces the overly indulgent attitude of a self-loathing individual grappling with complex emotions in a world where self-obsession is a cornerstone of the zeitgeist. 
In Pity Party, roman around combines dreamy synth notes with scattered snare patterns, reverberated background vocals, and high-fret electric guitar riffs. Despite the many audible elements that are at times slightly off-kilter, they coalesce in a manner that encapsulates the angsty feelings so many experience. 
Songwriter, musician, teacher, and instrumentalist Roman Rivera serves as the face of roman around. The artist has been creating music since their teen years, and their newest release comes after their first album, Tell Me All About You, from January 2023. roman around’s slightly warped sound carves a place for them in the slacker rock and modern shoegaze genres. 
The June 12 release is paired with a music video where clips of friends joyfully playing in the park are juxtaposed with the melancholy main character, throwing themselves a pity party. Wearing dark clothing and smudged, gothic eye makeup, they sit by their lonesome on a blanket while strumming heavy chords. 
Throughout the scene, the brightly dressed friends surround the crew’s energy vampire, tirelessly attempting to cheer them up. With both the lyrics, footage, and dramatic sounds, roman around illustrates how this despondent vibe demands attention from others: “Pity party, lighting up/come party. I need somebody.” 
At moments, the character shows signs of happiness and connection; footage of them dancing with their friends is accompanied by more upbeat guitar riffs. roman around also opens the door for listeners to empathise with the desire to relish in feeling sorry for oneself, with lyrics like “so hard you try/so hard you try.” 
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