Review Summary: Don't worry I'll catch you.
The years have been blown away like minutes, leaving nothing but a cynical shell of the boy who once thrived off of excitement. Being in homecoming court has never amounted to anything more than a quick sign of happiness, and winning my state championship junior year has all but drained me of my youth. Music has aged with me just like my memories, but some memories may be better rusty. I can’t really say the excitement factor of Something to Write Home About has withstood the test of time, but the incredible lyrical quality and poignant vocal performance are as powerful as ever.
Back in high school I didn’t have a very big musical understanding. I thought Beethoven was a bore, and Mozart’s crazy hair was more bombastic than his music. Meanwhile I was not indulgent to other’s opinions of music and I kept myself maintaining a standard pop-punk taste. It wasn’t until one of my closest friends recommended The Get up Kids to me, that I grew a little older. He lent me this CD and I played it all night. I remember playing it so much that the disc became scarred with burns and scratches from my old Sony CD player. I bought the album the next day and for the few months to come, “Holiday” became one of my favorite songs of all time. I was infectiously attracted to the album. I wept to the acoustic ballad “Out of Reach” with every breakup and I jammed to “Ten Minutes” before every baseball game. Even though I would sing along to the lyrics continuously each day, I never really understood their incredible meaning until now.
Sure the production qualities are kind of crappy by today’s standards. The instruments are rather repetitive and each song contains a predictable chorus. However, the lyrics have become some of the most relatable and intelligent in the genre. The beginning lyrics of “Holidays” relate back to the memories of everyone you grew up with and how drastically they changed both physically and mentally. It poses questions of doubt and insecurity about others or yourself. The introduction showcases what is to come in the most explosive way possible, as even the vocals are filled with emotionally broken energy as well. The vocals are the turning point of the albums genre, because I feel that the inclusion of Matt Pryer’s moving vocal performance launches the album into emo territory. His sullen vocals contradict his emotionally broken shouts. Along with the bombastic or slow harmonies of each song, they make Pryer’s voice land just above the clouds.
As well as having one of my favorite introductions for a pop-punk emo album, the closing track ends the album in an epic yet teary conclusion known as “I’ll Catch You”. The piano shines brighter than the sun, as Pryer’s vocals soar into your heart. “Can you sleep as the sound hits your ears?” He slowly sings, as the album kicks into its resolution. I can’t help but shed a slow tear as the acoustic guitar sweeps in to remind me of my high school prom. This is the first time that I realized the album feeds off of your favorite memories. The beauty of the music isn’t due to intricate instrumentals, or outstanding production. It’s the reflective material that mirrors the favorite thoughts of its guest with the music. Creating a world of emotion equivalent to those of your happiest memories for a very slow four minutes drive.
I do not love this album as much as I used to. Yet, I still feel that serving this on a plate for my friends to feast on would justify my old memories. Something to Write Home About stands as a memorial of old pop-punk. Every song is smooth and fun to listen to and the lyrics are filled with beauty and emotion. Though the instruments and production qualities sound a little dated, there is still a lot of fun hidden behind its pages. Pryer’s vocal performance is poignant and powerful, leaving the listener blown away by each loud shout, or captivated by each low whisper. This is the essential Get Up Kids album and an essential pop-punk album as well.