Honestly, does anybody here actually like
winter? Forgive me if you do, but I sure as hell don't. Cold, damp, wet, and the snow is just itching to get into your unsuitable and embarrassingly bear-esque "winter attire". Things seem more bleak in winter. The weather is one thing, either disappointingly scarce but still remaining of full blasts of cool and, essentially, painfully annoying snow striking your face like little microscopic daggers. Essentially, the way I listen to music has to do with seasons. I'm sure everyone has winter albums, summer albums, and everything in-between. Winter albums are more depressing than usual for me, whether it be a long-time favourite of Weezer
' Terror Twilight
or Matthew Good
, these albums somehow seem enhanced by the cold, plain and sometimes brutal weather. Don't ask me why, but they give me a sense of comfort, though somewhat estranged and depressing, in an otherwise unfavourable season.
But, to be honest, summer is my season for music. Things seem more innocent, fun and, depending on the music itself, relaxed or turbulent, but always comfortable. Pop punk is a genre that fits the season perfectly. The music is a very youthful blast of eclectic fun, whether it be a catchy break-up anthem by the likes of blink-182
, a political farce driven by the humorous lyrics ala NOFX
, or “growing up” music, mature but served with a side of familiar fun and childlike honesty, brought to the table by bands such as Jimmy Eat World
. It’s summer music, no doubt, a time when young high-school graduates face the uncertain future, a time of love and choices, or wreaking havoc at the local shopping centre armed with little more than skateboards and a mischievous smirk.
So this is why I regret buying this album in the wintertime. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to experience that whole phase. Which is quite a shame, because the album is chock full of exemplary pop punk staples. Memorable songs, great and intricate playing, and a solid array of different sounds. Not to mention, no matter how deep the band or the song itself gets, it somehow remains on that “fun and upbeat” level. Surely not a con, but rather a good attribute to the band’s abilities.
Consistency is one of the key elements of the album. Though the band don’t necessarily knock themselves out with changing their sound often, they do know how to give fans of the genre what they’re looking for in terms of variety and deliverance, resulting in a remarkably consistent album overall. Individually, there are few tracks that fail to impress in terms of both overall song writing and representation of what the band are capable of doing in regards to as straight-forward a genre as pop-punk, but it is a small price to pay for such consistancy. For instance, “Long Goodnight”, “Valentine” and the most poignant “I’ll Catch You” are slow and beautiful piano-led ballads, and just aching to burst out in a fit of noise and catchy hooks at any second throughout. But the songs stay true to their genre while maintaining a rather risky standard. Smartly spotted throughout the album so that things even out and you’re always glad a slower song shows up, but sandwiched between such killer cuts as “Holiday” and “Close to Home”, it almost wouldn’t matter what the configuration of the songs were, it’d be impressive regardless.
Perhaps one reason this album is so darn irresistible is because it’s not sheer genius music; the band isn’t breaking any ground with this album. But the Get Up Kids make a refreshing experience not exactly by reinventing the genre, but by solidifying the importance of song writing in it. Songs like “I’m a Loner Dottie, a Rebel” and “My Apology” are true to their roots in terms of catchiness, but take it to another level with intricate song writing and very prominent performances by the band. The vocals, though nasal, are very suiting to the very musical and catchy as hell songs and bring out the more down-to-earth subtleties of the band. It shows the band is capable of being smart yet sounding like a bunch of feel-good rebels just trying to make ends meet. The overall package is deceitful, though not necessarily false in any way, but in the end it’s a really feel-good band with something to say. It’s not significant, but it’s fun nevertheless.
One of the only missteps the band takes is that at some times they sound like a parody of themselves. “Red Letter Day” and “Out of Reach” are both mildly disappointing in that the band don’t really take their overall cutting edge sound to heart and instead, in both songs, head to the more straightforward love songs with accompanying power chords. The songs are still rather good, however, but overall the passion and energy that is usually given isn’t there, resulting in a somewhat formulaic pop-punk atmosphere and sounding as if the band are merely copying themselves throughout.
But all in all, this is a great and fun album. If you have a soft spot for pop-punk in the most loose sense, then this album is a wonderful purchase. The band have clearly done their homework on how to make a genre that was seemingly becoming more narrow and give it a fresh spin. It’s a youthful blast of fresh air. It’s a bummer in the summer. It’s all around an eclectic and intelligent listen, even if you’re just looking for music to settle down to. The band’s sound has been echoed many times since, and few bands have touched what these guys have done. Pop-punk at it’s finest, despite a few minor flaws. Perfect summer music as well, I assume.
Thanks for reading,