Year 6, Day 13: Going DECEMBERUNDERGROUND with AFI

Year 6, Day 13: AFI – DECEMBERUNDERGROUND

Track List

  1. Prelude 12/21
  2. Kill Caustic
  3. Miss Murder
  4. Summer Shudder
  5. The Interview
  6. Love Like Winter
  7. Affliction
  8. The Missing Frame
  9. Kiss and Control
  10. The Killing Lights
  11. 37mm
  12. Endlessly, She Said

About the Album

Decemberunderground (stylized as DECEMBERUNDERGROUND) is the seventh studio album from American rock band, AFI. The album was released on June 6th, 2006 though Interscope Records. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. The album has been certified both Gold and Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Thoughts on the Album

I stand by this statement: everyone has a scene kid within them that is yearning to be freed and unleashed on the earth. That kid who listens to nothing but heavy metal? Yup. That girl you know who swears by country music? Yup, them too. That one person you know who only listens to hardcore rap? You bet your sweet ass they have a scene kid within them. The top-40 pop princess that sits at your lunch table/across from you at work or school? Oh yeah.

You. Me. Them. Everybody.

That said, if I would’ve had the taste I had in music that I do now, I would’ve told my 2006, junior in high school self, to let the scene kid free. Today’s album falls firmly in that realm of the scene. AFI has been blurring the lines between alternative rock, hardcore punk, and pop punk for almost two decades now. 2006’s DECEMBERUNDERGROUND (you read that right, no spaces there) is arguably the most accessible punk album ever made to date? How can I say that? It debuted at number one and is certified platinum. DECEMBERUNDERGROUND is maintains a hardcore edge while being 100% radio friendly for the most part.

DECEMBERUNDERGROUND follows up on the incredibly successful Sing the Sorrow and builds on it with more cleverness and power. There’s more intricate arrangements, better sound effects and production, as well as an overall incredible sonic landscape. It’s definitely an album that while listening you’ll be transported into the dead of winter despite the album being released during the summer. AFI continues to polish their brand of west coast hardcore punk into something that almost every fan of the band, both old and new, as well as new listeners can pick up and enjoy. That said, while the you can hear their transition from previous releases, there are still tracks on this album that bring that hardcore punch many expect.

This album opens with the soft and gloomy, Prelude 12/21, which sets the atmosphere for the rest of the album. It opens rather soft and dainty before the pounding drums enter, building a rising crescendo as it prepares the listener for what is to come. The vocal work on this track from frontman Davey Havok is incredibly on point and is the focus of the track, along with the drum work. This prelude (sorry), leads right into Kill Caustic, arguably the heaviest and loudest track on the album as it channels the band’s hardcore punk roots. Going from something so rhythmic as Prelude 12/21 to something loud, heavy, and in-your-face as Kill Caustic is jarring and unexpected. But then again, nothing is expected anymore except Brandon Manning getting more playing time over Travis Sanheim on the Philadelphia Flyers and the Spanish Inquisition. Kill Caustic just gets right down to business with a frantic, frenzied, and frenetic verse. The catchy chorus makes me think it was pulled right off a pop-punk album of the same decade.

But let’s talk about Miss Murder. She’s a beaut, ain’t she? Gorgeous. But don’t get too close, or, you know. Jokes aside, Miss Murder is an incredibly infectious track. Featured in pretty much EVERY music rhythm video game of the mid-to-late 2000’s, Miss Murder has pretty much everything that previous hit Girl’s Not Grey has and more. Infectious chorus? Check. Gorgeous backing gang vocals? Check. A drum and rhythm section that paces the song? Check. A chorus that you can chant along to? Oh yeah, check. An excellent song, not unlike any AFI song previously released.

Let’s talk about two more tracks before we close this one out. My favorite track from this album has to be Summer Shudder, a more electronic rock punk track (if that’s even possible). A heavily melodic track that focuses less on the guitar (sans an incredibly pre-verse) and more on the drums, bass, and synth. A mid-tempo rocker that features some incredible hooks. Love Like Winter, is a track that builds up before it explodes with an infectious and hook laden pop-punk(esque) chorus. A phenomenal track that focuses again, less about the guitars and more on the synth and rhythm section.

Conclusion

2006 was, I think a pretty good year for albums. AFI‘s DECEMBERUNDERGROUND was one of them. The production is slick and smooth. The songwriting is incredible. The one pretty decent sized downside is that some of the tracks do sound like filler tracks. If you took hardcore punk, goth/emo, and modern alternative electronic elements and mashed them together into one, this is what the product would be. However, one of the key things here is, is that it still maintains AFI‘s sound and style. Many bands fail at transitioning to different styles and sounds, but AFI didn’t with DECEMBERUNDERGROUND. In fact, the succeeded. DECEMBERUNDERGROUND is one of the best albums of the mid-00’s. Let your inner scene kid free and let them roam.

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Year 6, Day 12: Enjoying some “Good Times” with Mando Diao

Year 6, Day 12: Mando Diao – Good Times

Track List

  1. Break Us
  2. All The Things
  3. Good Times
  4. Shake
  5. Money
  6. Watch Me Now
  7. Hit Me With a Bottle
  8. Brother
  9. Dancing All The Way To Hell
  10. One Two Three
  11. Voices On The Radio
  12. Without Love

About the Album

Good Times is the eighth studio album from Swedish rock band, Mando Diao. It is the first album from the band to not feature founding member and dual frontman/guitarist, Gustaf Noren, as he left the band. The album was released on May 12th 2017 on BMG.

Thoughts on the Album

Mando Diao is easily one of my favorite bands, ever. Of all time. They are one of the few bands that I legitimately get excited for when they release new music. So I am sure you can imagine my excitement when I heard that they were releasing a new album last year. It was easily a Day 1 purchase. Here’s the thing, as much as fans trashed their previous album Aelitait wasn’t as bad as they were saying it was. It was however, jarring to go from 1960’s/1970’s Beatles and hard rock inspired garage rock to 1980’s new wave/synthpop. That was my main problem with it.

With that said, Good Times is a welcome reprieve from the new wave and a return to more comfortable seas, albeit, bridging the gap between the more experimental AelitaGood Times sees the Swedes sans founding member and dual lead singer/lead guitarist, Gustaf Noren, on the right direction. This direction eases the difference between old and new makes it a more comfortable listening experience. This album takes what they’ve done as a rock band and harnesses their strengths. You can feel the difference in the sound as the band sounds full of live, reinvigorated, as the music takes on the rock edge previously missing from it’s predecessor.

You can hear the more experimental synth elements that are on Aelita, but they are not over powering when fused with the traditional rock sound of Mando Diao. These synth elements and extra arrangements give the album some funky kicks to it, especially with the title track, Shake, and MoneyBreak Us, the album opener sets up the listener for Bjorn Dixgard‘s pretty much trademarked heartbreakingly beautiful and harsh vocals. It’s acoustic piano opens up the atmosphere for the entirety of the album. Break Us shows itself to be one of the most powerful tracks on the album, even with some fo the more aggressive and uptempo tracks. All The Things, Good Times, and Shake bring the mood of the album up, as if it was shot out of cannon or on a high speed elevator ride. Each of these three songs should help with dealing the weights of the world around you.

Each track is it’s own character; each has it’s own life force, almost as if they are living and breathing. All The Things is more hard rock, aggressive on vocals and melody. Good Times, is slightly less aggressive and a bit more fragile but continues with the uptempo rock. Shake, combines pure pop-rock elements along with a choir. For me, one of the few strikeouts is the 1970’s disco/funk rock Dancing All the Way to Hell. Dancing All the Way to Hell is seemingly pure decadence and a throwback to an era gone and in the dust. While danceable, it doesn’t quite click with the rest of the album.

Conclusion

Swedish rock and roll goes heavy on the catchy and melodic hooks, like the New York Yankees go hard and heavy on home run hitters. Frontman Bjorn Dixgard hits a home run with his vocals on Good Times as his raspy and guttural vocals soar magnificently throughout the album. After taking the necessary steps back to learn from previous mistakes, Mando Diao reconnects with their old sound and steers the ship into better and more clearer waters. While not revolutionary or going to reinvent the wheel, Good Times is an instantly gratifying and fun listen. And despite the horrid album artwork, this album offers the old fans and new something to enjoy.

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Year 6, Day 11: Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins. Homer Simpson, smiling politely.

Year 6, Day 11: Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream

Track Listing

  1. Cherub Rock
  2. Quiet
  3. Today
  4. Hummer
  5. Rocket
  6. Disarm
  7. Soma
  8. Geek U.S.A.
  9. Mayonaise
  10. Spaceboy
  11. Silverfuck
  12. Luna

About the Album

Siamese Dream is the second studio album from alternative rock pioneers, The Smashing Pumpkins. Recorded from December 1992 through April 1993, the album was released on July 27th 1993 on Virgin Records. The album debuted at number ten on Billboard 200 and has sold well north of 4+ million copies in the United States alone, with over six million being sold worldwide. The album is certified 4x platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.

Thoughts on the Album

It’s day eleven here at the Sounds of Broad Street and we’re busting out the big bats for it. Let’s discuss one of the biggest albums from the early 1990’s. The Smashing Pumpkins were one of the biggest and best bands of the 1990’s. They gave rise to both college rock and alternative rock, more so the latter, alternative rock. 1993’s Siamese Dream is one of the catalysts for this rise. A behemoth of album, with it’s twelve songs combining for almost 63 minutes of music. With the help of acclaimed producer, Butch VigThe Smashing Pumpkins created a massive record that is arguably one of the best albums of the decade, sans a few.

Siamese Dream is infamously known for it’s massive layers of guitar tracks (at least 27 per song), no more evidenced on lead single and album opener, Cherub RockCherub Rock is arguably one of the songs that fine both musical genre and the decade, begins more like relentless and soaring Queen song that anything else. Billy Corgan‘s nasally and snarling voice carries the song through the restless oceans of sonic noise. Cherub Rock has one of the most famous introductions with the snare drum fills. That’s how you know it’s about kick off. The song is basically one giant middle finger to both hipsters and his critics who thought he was too pretentious. I know I describe songs as “perfect”, but this one truly is perfect. From the snare drum fill to open the album, the clashing and multilayered guitar tracks, right down to Corgan‘s voice.

But it’s not just Cherub Rock, it’s the entire album. An album that has tracks that push the limits, lines, and boundaries of genres without deviating too far from the album’s center themes. You’ll find on tracks like Cherub Rock, Geek U.S.A., and (the ironically titled) Quiet, that there is heavy aggression to be found. The aggression on those tracks push the limit without deviating to far from the overall sound of the album. Quiet gets introduced by muddled guitar slides that resemble two cars drag racing. However the cars are driven by Corgan‘s angsty vocals.

Every song’s style fits perfectly with the mood and lyrics it contains; Disarm is a perfect example of this. It is a beautifully melancholy and vulnerable acoustic and symphonic ballad that where Corgan waxes on about the negative aspects of his childhood and his parents. One of the key elements that propels this album to greatness is just how well it handles it’s influences. Some of the major influences found on this album lie in 1970’s rock and dream pop, especially from bands like Queen and My Bloody Valentine. It’s this blend of old influences with new songs that makes this an enthralling album to listen to. Soma, a very dreamlike alternative rock ballad probably paved the way for many a late-90’s Radiohead song. However, the wrench is thrown with some absolutely brilliant and gorgeous multilayered guitar work in the middle of the track that hearkens back to some of operatic guitar melodies that Queen‘s Brian May had written. Spaceboy, a mellotron driven ballad that channels it’s inner 70’s prog rock, all the while it skillfully maintains the more modern alternative characteristics and features.

Conclusion

It’s not often where an album has songs on it that that don’t sound like products of it’s time. Siamese Dream is an exception to this. That despite the contemporary 90’s influences, there’s 70’s/80’s influences found throughout the entirety of the album. It’s a deeply personal, influential, and instrumentally proficient album that has become a cornerstone for modern rock and became the cornerstone for alternative rock as we know it. Siamese Dream is a fuzz-ridden collage of emotions and moods that knows when to change things up. There is a massive amount of variety, but never strays too far from the central themes and sound. It’s arguably on the great rock albums ever made.

Songs to listen to: Cherub Rock, Today, Disarm, Geek U.S.A.

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The Broad Street Playlist Weekly Recap for 2/19-2/24/2018

Welcome back to the Broad Street Playlist weekly recap! We had a full six days of albums so lets get right down to it.

Monday, February 19th 2018

Leading off the week was Canadian songstress Lights, with her album Little MachinesThis album came recommended to me by a classmate at Temple University some years ago. This album did not disappoint. An album that is both light and heavy with an incredibly effective balance between the two. A relatively upbeat and 10000% relatable to everyone who listens. It’s only Up We Go from here. Check out Little Machines!

Tuesday, February 20th 2018

On Tuesday, we learned how to have fun while listening to music, with The Menzingers‘ Chamberlain Waits. Don’t tell The Menzingers that punk rock is dead, as this album is living proof that punk is not dead yet. Following a mantra of “less is more”, Chamberlain Waits provides no-thrills, nothing special punk rock. However! That is what makes this album special. There’s no grandiose orchestral introductions or three minute solos or the like. Nope. Just straightforward music that’ll have you singing along to it. Check out Chamberlain Waits!

Wednesday, February 21st 2018

On Wednesday, we checked in on Paramore‘s world domination and global pop/alternative music takeover. And good lord do they crush a grand slam with their 2017 album After Laughter. Gone are the pop-punk and gritty guitar riffs and in are the 1980’s new wave. With vibrant and colorful beats and glimmer production, After Laughter brings the 80’s nostalgia back hard. Check out After Laughter!

Thursday, February 22nd 2018

Thursday, we brought the noise with pop-punk forefathers, the DescendentsCool to Be You is an album that is full of sophomoric humor. Seriously, fart jokes, singles bars, nerds, and American history. It’s what I would call a “pop-hardcore” album. It takes the best aspects of pop-punk (catchy riffs/hooks and soaring choruses) with hardcore punk (heavy distorted guitars and driving rhythm sections). It’s an album that combines both realism and positivism. Check out Cool to Be You!

Friday, Frebruary 23rd 2018

It’s Friday and we’re in love. In love with the humor and sarcasm of Canadian punk rockers, PUP, and their album The Dream Is Over. This album from PUP is an absolute gem tackles and makes fun of all the weights of the world we carry. For a punk album it’s a rarity: an album with massive replayability. It’s ten songs will have you jamming out and stomping along. Check out The Dream Is Over!

Saturday, February 24th 2018

We arrived at Saturday, the last day of the week. And we ask, What Are You So Scared Of? Or at least that’s what Tonight Alive is asking. Putting aside and looking past the Paramore comparisons, Tonight Alive‘s What Are You SO Scared Of? is an incredibly impressive debut album in a pop-punk scene that is/was exceedingly crowded. With quite a few memorable songs and infectious hooks, What Are You Scared Off? has laid the ground work for Tonight Alive‘s path to global domination. Check out What Are You So Scared Off?

Spotify Playlist Recap

Come back on Monday for the start of a new week and a new album!

Year 6, Day 10: So… What Are You So Scared Of?

Year 6, Day 10: Tonight Alive – What Are You So Scared Of?

Track List (Australian release)

  1. Eject, Eject Eject!
  2. Breaking & Entering
  3. Starlight
  4. Sure as Hell
  5. Let It Land
  6. Fake It
  7. Listening
  8. Reason to Sing
  9. Safe & Sound
  10. Thank You & Goodnight
  11. Amelia
  12. In the First Place
  13. To Die For
  14. What Are You So Scared Of?

Track List (United States release)

  1. Eject, Eject, Eject!
  2. Breaking & Entering
  3. Sure as Hell
  4. Starlight
  5. To Die For
  6. Let It Land
  7. Amelia
  8. Listening
  9. Thank You & Goodnight
  10. Safe and Sound
  11. Fake It
  12. What Are You So Scared Of?

About the Album

What Are You So Scared Of? is the debut studio album from female-fronted Australian pop-punk band, Tonight Alive. The album was released in Australian on October 14th 2011 through Sony Music Australia and released in the United States on February 14th 2012 through Fearless Records and released in the United Kingdom on September 28th 2012. The album peaked at number 7, 38, and 48 on the Billboard HeatseekersRock Albums, and Independent Albums respectively.

Thoughts on the Album

I’ve stated many times how much I absolutely love female fronted bands, especially when it comes to pop-punk. The problem is, many female fronted bands get looped into one of two categories: Sounds like Paramore and Doesn’t Sound Like Paramore. It’s incredibly not fair to either band, since each one is doing their own thing. Tonight Alive is one of those female fronted bands that gets looped into the Sounds Like Paramore category. Frontwoman Jenna McDougall has arguably a more powerful voice than Hayley Williams does. Blasphemy, I know. But I feel like this as gone on for too long.

I know, alright.

I digress. We are here to talk about Tonight Alive‘s debut album, What Are You So Scared Of? not talk about music politics and philosophy. As for debut albums going, What Are You So Scared Of? is pretty cot damn impressive. Released in the United States on Valentine’s Day 2012, the Australian pop-punk quintet launched themselves into the American music scene. The ninety second Eject, Eject Eject! is an atmospheric and orchestral opener that just builds up to the soaring guitars and explosive drums of the album’s third single, Breaking & Entering. It’s like Eject, Eject, Eject! acts like a curtain riser, to introduce us to the powerful and commanding vocals of frontwoman, Jenna McDougall. And good lord, is McDougall‘s voice powerful and commanding. Her vocal range is both extensive and incredible.The rest of the band, while no slouches either, are pretty good as well. They are not overly technical or original.

McDougall‘s wide vocal range is best shown off on Sure as Hell. At slightly over three minutes long (3:07), this gem of a song shows off her voice. It highlights just how powerful and the command she has over the notes she’s singing. This is especially true about her command of the notes as the band changes the sound, pace, or tempo up. But it’s not just on this song. No. It’s every song where her vocal delivery is pretty close to flawless.

If you were looking for some revolutionary guitar work, keep moving. It sticks to the tried and true pop-punk formula of reusing (over and over again) the same chords. However, the band chose excellently their chord progressions and patterns to give the album and interesting sound that never gets tired or boring. While there is no brash attacks on political regimes (Hi, American Idiot!), the band sounds like they are enjoying what and how they play and would flip the bird to anyone who thinks else. The album is at it’s best when the tempo is fast, though there is one exception to this rule: the mid-tempo AmeliaAmelia, is a heart-breakingly beautiful song about the loss of a childhood friend. The emotion rightly shines through here with poignant lyrics and music that intensifies as the song goes on.

Conclusion

Paramore comparisons aside, What Are You Scared Of? is an impressive debut album in an exceedingly crowded scene. This album, despite it’s sometimes awkward bridges and song placement, as well as a few too many songs, are smoothed over by sharp production. This is an album that is never shoot on infectiously catchy and memorable riffs. The closing and titled track, What Are You So Scared Of? combined with the lead single Let It Land will give the formula for the future success and world domination. What Are You Scared Of? is a refreshing dose of pop-punk at the absolute best.

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Year 6, Day 9: Sarcasm, Self-Deprecation, and Hilarity with PUP

Year 6, Day 9: PUP – The Dream Is Over

Track List

  1. If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will
  2. DVP
  3. Doubts
  4. Sleep in the Heat
  5. The Coast
  6. Old Wounds
  7. My Life Is Over and I Couldn’t Be Happier
  8. Can’t Win
  9. Familiar Patterns
  10. Pine Point

About the Album

The Dream Is Over is the second studio album from Canadian punk rockers, PUP. The album was released on May 27 2016 through SideOneDummy Records and Royal Mountain Records.

Thoughts on the Album

It’s very rare that I find an album that I like where it’s two many features are chaos and unity. That’s what PUP does best. With their sophomore release, The Dream Is Over, the Canadian punk quartet offer up a satirical, realistic, humorous, and introspective take on their career and life. This album takes their self-titled debut and builds on it. Makes it angrier, more ferocious, and at certain points, downright hilarious. The album opens with If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will. It’s an airing of grievances as frontman Stefan Bobcock scoffs at quitting his dream as the rest of the members of the band are ready to kill each other. It’s one hell of a way to start off an album, with some rampant gang vocals shouted over the band members’ personal jabs at each other.

Lead single DVP highlights the growth of the guitar work with it’s speed and skill. The rapid guitars reach a breakneck pace as their struggle to keep up with Babcock’s powerful and furious vocals. Much like the album opener, DVP is chock full of humor and wit. It’s one of the album’s fiercest cuts. Do yourself a favor, and watch the official music video for this song. I don’t want to spoil it, but yeah. Can’t Win, the eighth track is instantly catchy. You will find yourself nodding your head along to it and shouting along it’s soaring chorus. Old Wounds puts the chaos on full display as it shows off it’s hardcore roots and influences. It’s like every member of the band is releasing some pent up aggression in Old Wounds.

It’s big hooks, melodic riffs, bouncing rhythm sections, and more that highlight this album. An album about rolling with the punches. Can’t Win embodies what The Dream Is Over is about. The situations that automatically beg you as an underdog and leaving you feeling destined to fail no matter what. But you’re encouraged to overcome those situations. By the time you reach Pine Point, it’s almost like you’ve become friends with the band, hearing their stories. Their testimonies. It closes the album on a tragic note, but however, points to the light on the horizon.

Conclusion

PUP spins an absolute gem of an album with The Dream Is Over. Spinning this record with an unmatched and unbridled positivity and making fun of the weights of the world seeming worked excellently for this band. It’s a punk album that’s rare: it has replay value. Coming in at exactly 30 minutes in length, The Dream Is Over is a ten song romp that’ll have you shouting along.

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Year 6, Day 8: It’s Pretty Cool To Be You, says the Descendents

Year 6, Day 8: Descendents – Cool To Be You

Track List

  1. Talking
  2. Nothing Without You
  3. She Don’t Care
  4. ‘Merican
  5. Dog and Pony Show
  6. Blast Off!
  7. Dreams
  8. Cool to Be You
  9. Maddie
  10. Mass Nerder
  11. One More Day
  12. Tack
  13. Anchor Grill
  14. Dry Spell

About the Album

Cool to Be You is the sixth studio album from California hardcore punk band, the Descendents. The album was recorded February and April of 2002 and released on March 23rd 2004 through Fat Wreck Chords. It is the band’s first album since 1996. The album peaked at number 143 on the Billboard 200 and number six on the Billboard Independent Albums chart.

Thoughts on the Album

In the first few days I featured some east coast hardcore. Now it’s time we hear from their compatriots on the west coast. The Descendents are a punk band that have been around since the 1980s… and depending on how you classify them there are either hardcore punk or pop-punk. But why let labels get in our way of enjoying an album. In 2004, the band released their sixth album, Cool to Be You, a fourteen song, 36 minute affair that’ll raise the hairs on the back of your neck. Cool to Be You the longevity and power that punk rock has… considering the Descendents have been around since 1977.

There is a stylistic and cultural difference between east coast and west coast hardcore. But that debate is for a whole nother time and place. Cool to Be You shows off the growth of the west coast scene since the late 1970’s/early 1980’s. It’s album that takes on the world with a sense of humor, because let’s be honest here, what teenager is really all that concerned with rebellions and politics? I mean, sure, yeah, songs about CIA-sponsored coup d’etats, economic, political unfairness, and social injustice are pretty cool. But sometimes you need some songs about girls, food, and doing absolutely dumb (and occasionally dangerous) things with your friends.

However, this album isn’t all about fun and games and sophomoric humor. It does have a mature side to it; an adult side that has grown up. One More Day tackles the topic of how to deal with the loss of an estranged loved one. Showing off the band’s energy, but in a more tone down way. It’s also the slowest track on the album at 3 minutes and 33 seconds. There’s the lyrically fantastic ‘Merican, the blisteringly paced track about both the positive and negative aspects of American history. Celebrating everything great about our country from Otis Redding, Duke Ellington, and Walt Whitman to damning the negative: slavery, Joe McCarthy, the Vietnam War. The Descendents go about without a preachy tone like most political punk songs do. American pride and American shame all in one blistering minute 51 second track.

For those that have listened to the Descendents before, their trademarked sophomoric/childish humor and self-deprecation is there. Mass Nerder, discusses being ostracized and outcast in school. Dog and Pony Show makes light of singles bars. And what sophomoric humor would be complete without a track about farts… that’s what Blast Off! is.

One of the more notable things about this band, is how much, musically speaking, they haven’t changed since 1982. 1982 was them release Milo Goes To CollegeCool to Be You has a lot of unorthodox melodies which are buoyed by incredibly tight rhythm sections and some “fancy”  guitar work. The production work is sharp and crisp. Not one instrument is more dominant than the other; each instrument is clear.

Conclusion

Jokes about farts, singles bars, and nerds aside, Cool to Be You is an excellent “pop-hardcore” album. It takes the west coast hardcore and fuses it with modern pop-punk and creates an easily accessible album that anyone can enjoy. The album is dripping in the most enduring traits of the Descendents: their realism and positivism. What the Descendents did with Cool to Be You was produced an outstanding melodic punk record with a welcome addition of maturity (but not too much maturity, looking at you Blast Off!) and some memorable and solid songs.

Tracks to Listen to: Talking, ‘Merican, Mass Nerder, Blast Off!

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