American Football
American Football


5.0
classic

Review

by Paul Golden USER (20 Reviews)
April 21st, 2014 | 42 replies


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist


The last night before I went away to college, I sat on my back porch alone and listened to this album.

Cigarette in hand, head propped up against the wall of my childhood home, eyes fixed on the woods I used to play in with my neighbors years and years ago. Never Meant rolled along. I was on the same porch where me and my high school lover sat the first time I threw a party, I couldn't help but reminisce on what I've been through. That night, outside my home with tons of people packing the inside, she kissed me for the first time. I thought about who I was then, who I thought I'd be now. The promises I made to her played on repeat in my mind.

I haven't seen her in years.

The Summer Ends brought with it a reality check. I couldn't help but think I needed sleep, my alarm clock was going to go off in a few hours. The first day of college, at that time, felt like the grandest event in my life. The summer wasn't ending, it was over. Mike himself sounds regretful, confused, and questioning. The building cymbal hits. The soft release of tension.

"We've both been so unhappy,
so let's just see what happens
when the summer ends."

The familiar nature surrounding my south Jersey home provided an additional backing track to American Football's one and only full length. Cicadas. Water softly flowing through the brook. A distant owl. The second half of Honestly? started, the repetitive guitars and winding drums felt parallel to the quiet earthquake of thoughts inside my mind. As that riff faded and came back to fruition, I felt the last moments of childhood washing into memory. It was probably 3 AM.

At the time, the stars seemed to be glowing with a sepia tint, as if everything I was looking at was caked in nostalgia. The pool seemed to be surrounded by friends, the swing set might as well have been blowing in the wind, the trees were full of eager kids looking for adventure. Maybe it was partly the mood this album put me in, the introspective voice of Mike Kinsella, the shy horn just barely sputtering out notes, the repetitive and unforgettable twinkly riffs.

It all seemed to work together.

By the time I came back from the depths of memory, Stay Home had begun. The guitars were tensing, but still somehow relaxed. A distant bongo. Rhythmic, hypnotizing cymbal hits. It stops.

Building cymbals.

A strum.

"Don't leave home again
if empathy takes energy."

In that moment, Stay Home was all I heard. By the time the penultimate track came on, I had washed myself of the feelings I had leading up to it. The pool became just a barren bastion of summer, the swing set was dismantled and scrapped, the trees were long since cut and burned in our fireplace. That's life, I guess. As the track slowly faded, I was able to make peace with the past 4 years. Even as I looked at who I was in the moment, I felt ready to continue on. The past will always be there, waiting in the darkest corner of my head with a lead pipe and a fistful of LP's I used to love. I couldn't let it control me.

I couldn't let it become me.

And as the horn on the final track winded on, I couldn't think of anything besides the next year of my life. It slowly came to a stop, and once again I was thrust into reality. It was almost cold. Close to 3:30 AM. I had to be up in a few hours, and the pit in my stomach returned to me.

But it was okay, because in those minutes between the bookends, I was at peace. On an adventure between what I've forgotten about and what I wish I could, I found myself content. There was no other album, no other piece of art I could have experienced in that moment. The fading summer air only complimented Mike Kinsella's nostalgic and regretful recollection. As I thought back on everything I've ever had, every love I've ever crumbled, only American Football's seminal, celebrated LP could have provided a vehicle for those thoughts.

I looked up at the stars, no longer tinted yellow, and smiled.

Knowing I only had a few hours sleep to catch by now, I stood up, and went to bed.



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user ratings (1481)
Chart.
4.3
superb
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Hogan CONTRIBUTOR (5)
    A world that can only be viewed through sound and emotion....

    TheJunkhead (5)
    "Don't leave home again..."...

    John Fraser (5)
    Nostalgic, unique, and beautiful, American Football is an unmatchedly perfect summer indie...

    Scott Krasman (5)
    In a world where the days of summer are fading away and autumn is just around the corner, ...

  • Kyle Robinson (4.5)
    A short-lived but excellent page in Mike Kinsella's musical career, American Football offe...

    RJDBass (4)
    One of the best examples of 90s post-rock leaning bands....

    nutty_bar (4.5)
    American Football's one and only full length. This CD is very relaxing, and hard to put i...

related reviews

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Comments:Add a Comment 
Breaded
April 21st 2014


46 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I figured enough had already been said about this album, but I still wanted to share my own experience with it and what it means to me.

I think, in a way, it speaks enough for the album itself.

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
April 21st 2014


50951 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

all those 5 reviews

Digging: Friendzone - Collection 1

Judio!
Contributing Reviewer
April 21st 2014


6559 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Beautiful review, dude. Really enjoyed reading this, you seemed to capture the essence of wha makes American Football so great perfectly. Before I leave for college in a few months, I'll jam this again and see if I have a similar experience.

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

fromtheinside
April 21st 2014


19138 Comments


awesome review

Digging: Bolt Thrower - ...For Victory

Skoj
April 21st 2014


1260 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, I don't typically enjoy such personal reviews but your review brought some hard feels. Awesome job.

hogan900
Contributing Reviewer
April 21st 2014


1724 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Before I clicked on the review, I knew it had to be somewhat decent. But instead you blew me away. Great review man, glad to see you like this almost as much as me.

SeaAnemone
April 21st 2014


20939 Comments


man people who like this really like this

I don't know it has some awesome tracks but it's way too spotty to compare, imo, to E! E! or even some of Owen's stuff

Digging: Viet Cong - Viet Cong

Cygnatti
April 21st 2014


22242 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

first 10 minutes of this is rly 4/5 worthy stuff. :]

Digging: Jerry Lee Lewis - Live at the Star Club, Hamburg

Lambda
April 21st 2014


2479 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Really cool review, as Judio! said you captured the essence of the album really well. Pos.

hogan900
Contributing Reviewer
April 21st 2014


1724 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Cyg's 3's = Everyone's 4

MalleusMaleficarum
April 21st 2014


14392 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I can see how this album could come across as non-stellar to someone who feels no emotional attachment to it

YoYoMancuso
April 21st 2014


11221 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this album seems to bring out the good reviewer in everybody

zakalwe
April 21st 2014


9089 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"she kissed me for the first time. I thought about who I was then, who I thought I'd be now. The promises I made to her played
on repeat in my mind.

I haven't seen her in years"

You didn't do what any self respecting young lad would do then? Get her plastered and fuck her in the nearby woods

Digging: The dB's - Stands For Decibels

BigPleb
April 21st 2014


37857 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

DOGHOUSE

Digging: Arc Iris - Arc Iris

Green Baron
April 21st 2014


20320 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm trying to get more into this guys. But Never Meant sets the standard so high that everything else pales forme

Gwyn.
April 21st 2014


15321 Comments


I still think Never Meant is one of the most ~feels~ songs I've ever heard but I still don't really care for anything that comes after no matter how much I keep listening :c

BigPleb
April 21st 2014


37857 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Whole thing is beaut as hell but yeah, Never Meant conquers all.

JS19
April 21st 2014


4404 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This gives me no emotionz at all

Digging: Circa Survive - Descensus

SnakeDelilah
April 21st 2014


9054 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Honestly? owns Never Meant you mangs

Digging: Foxing - The Albatross

Gwyn.
April 21st 2014


15321 Comments


nah



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