It’s been 16 years since Forrest Kline formed emo-pop project Hellogoodbye, and in many ways, nothing has changed. Sure, he’s not at school anymore. He’s married, settled in his Long Beach home, and has stable income. But Kline is still the same hopeless, unapologetic romantic he was when he first sat down with his laptop to write a song that would make Robin Hood minstrel Alan-a-Dale proud.
The focus of his romantic intent has changed, though. Kline admits that, initially, he was writing songs as a means to woo girls — to record something that could be added to a mixtape with a hand-drawn cover, with the teen hope of charming his way to first base. Nowadays, every song he writes is about his wife in one way or another. Which comes as some relief, because the songs back at school never achieved their intended aim, anyway.
“I started recording the stuff in 10th grade,” Kline says. “But it never worked. I’m happily married now. I’ve wooed her many times. Every song is somewhat about my wife. I don’t know if it ever played a role in her choosing me. It might have. She wouldn’t admit it, probably.”
Hellogoodbye is certainly a band that hammers home the fact that “emo” stems from the word “emotional,” and while that heart-on-sleeve approach to songwriting might be a little much for some people, what’s undeniable is that Kline is authentic. He really is as hopelessly romantic as his lyrics make him appear.
“It’s all about love,” he says. “Not to sound cheesy, but love is one of the all-encompassing topics. Not that I get political or anything, but a song about love could also be about politics. Or a song that’s about your parents or your relationship — anybody in your life, or any thing that you interact with. It’s always through the lens of love. I do make a conscious attempt to keep it positive, and to look more on the loving side as opposed to the hating side.”