Review Summary: You're 23 and drinking PBR.
It’s 1997 and you’re six years old. You hear The Who’s Tommy
from outside your older sister’s bedroom door. You dance in the hallway with an uninhibited exuberance you won’t recreate until you try MDMA in your early 20s. You get a role in the local high school’s production of the stage musical and take a brief, fervent interest in drums and pinball. Interest in the latter wanes.
It’s 2000 and you’re nine years old. You hear a song on the radio that you connect with instantly. You think it’s Blink-182, but it can’t be Blink-182 because Blink-182 has a whinier singer. You later find out it actually was Blink-182 and the song is called “Adam’s Song.” Your name is Adam. You feel spooked for the next four years.
It’s 2004 and the world clicks into view. You’re thirteen years old. American Idiot
comes out. Music opens up to you in a way it never has before. It feels vital, revolutionary. Your first rock show is a Green Day concert at Giants Stadium. Your Dad drives you. Jimmy Eat World and Against Me! open, and he spends their sets adjusting his earplugs. Green Day plays and he spends the rest of the concert standing, having as good a time as you, though he’ll deny it to this day. Six months later, you write a sentence or two about every song on Kerplunk
It’s 2005 and you start your first rock band with your best friends. You’re corny, as all of you have grown up on the periphery of cool, desperate to get in, but your songs are catchy and energetic, so some people like them. You conclude your first show with a cover of Taking Back Sunday. All the punk kids from school sing along. You are on top of the fuck
You break up the band in 2007.
It’s 2010 and you’re eighteen years old. Your girlfriend breaks up with you the month you discover Titus Andronicus’ The Monitor
. Choking up, you scream Titus Andronicus lyrics at your steering wheel. You repeat this ritual with The Wrens, Brand New, My Chemical Romance, and others.
It’s 2012 and you’re twenty-one. You and your college roommate have just had a devastating fight, but you already have tickets to a Japandroids concert. You go. You both stage dive during your favorite songs. You search him out in the crowd for “Younger Us” so you can scream “Give me that night you were already in bed, said fuck
it, got up to drink with me instead,” with him in your arms. Things are forgiven.
It is January 2014. You’ve lived nearly a full year away from your Dad, your best friends, your girlfriend, all the people who’ve helped form you into a very-questionably functioning adult. You attend the last Bomb the Music Industry! show ever. You go alone. You scream the lyrics you know into the arms of strangers. You look back on the night wondering how great it could’ve been if your friends had been there.
It’s September the same year. You’re living in New York and a band comes up on your radar. You’re told they’re “Goo Goo Dolls meets Japandroids.” They bill themselves as “Guitar, bass, and drums. Played loudly.” You listen to them breathlessly sing about good times over raucous guitars and energized drums and draw lines between moments from your past like they were stars. You hear them sing “It’s Friday night and I’m in the basement, screaming out my lungs with my best friends,” and see a lifetime’s supply of rock kitsch exposed for what it is. You feel a dizzying cocktail of joy, sadness, and vertigo. You wish you still believed in the healing power of power chords and the solidarity of punk lyrics. But you don’t anymore. Not really.
You sit down to write about Beach Slang and feel an illusion you’ve strived to keep alive your whole life crystallize into perfect clarity. Your world clicks into view again. You start to type.