At 5*C’s show with Kill Hannah a few weeks ago, a band opened for us called Liam and Me. They were on their way back east after recording their debut album in California. They didn’t have copies, but they had a sampler called Music Saves Lives – Warped Tour ’07 and I have some thoughts about that comp.
- Liam and Me, “Don’t Say a Word”
- Head Automatica, “Lying Through Your Teeth”
- New Found Glory, “On My Mind”
- Run Doris Run, “From Now On (remix)”
- Sugarcult, “Riot”
- Anberlin, “Godspeed”
- Blinded Black, “Can You Hear Me Now”
- Hod Rod Circuit, “Stateside”
- K-os, “Sunday Morning”
- Jack’s Mannequin, “La La Lie”
- Stacy Clark, “Say What You Want”
- Mae, “Painless”
- Sink to See, “Calling”
- Daphne Loves Derby, “The Best Part About It Honey”
- Kaddisfly, “Games”
- Tokyo Rose, “Goodbye Almond Eyes”
- The Panic Division, “From The Top”
- This World Fair, “White Flag”
- Relient K, “More Than Useless”
So this is what the kids are listening to these days. Bold tracks are songs I thought were worth a third listen.
At first, I was ready to pan the disc for its incessantly formulaic emo-pop-punk. And that’s mostly true; the songs I don’t mention are that and nothing more. If you dig it (Nick!), great!
But I was surprised by a few bands still finding ways to make alright emo-pop-punk-sounding music. Like Sugarcult and Anberlin, two reliable bands operating in that territory. Sugarcult’s anthem outruns its own predictability and reaches radio home-base, and Anberlin has just enough 80s and metal influence to pull off a gem like “Godspeed.”
I really loved Liam and Me live, but was dissappointed by “Don’t Say a Word.” I can’t find any keys in the mix, and their energy, soul, and fun-spirit were much more prevalent at recordBar.
Who knows how K-os got on this comp, but “Sunday Morning” is a hooky cut of melody and groove that is mos def worth pulling off iTunes. Love the drum sound.
Not bad, Stacy Clark! A remix might do your song even better, though.
Mae’s “Painless” prog-pop works if Coheed & Cambria is too weird for you (it’s not, but I’m keeping Mae around anyway for the shuffle). Tokyo Rose charmed me because they’re more enthusiastic and less polished than every other emo-pop-punk band.
But Music Saves Lives seems to beg the question, Where’s the rebellion? Is this the soundtrack to a generation’s exploration and revolution? Dookie was a snotty shot across the establishment’s bow when I was in 7th grade; after endless iterations, is it the same sound kids are turning each other on to between classes? Warped Tour thinks so. This comp’s best tracks are novel enough to be good pop, but aren’t changing the game or even trying to advance it. I’d like to hear a disc, or see a tour, of bands that are young and brash enough to take a stab at something I haven’t heard.
Reading the re-formatted SPIN Magazine’s reviews had led me to the position that 4-star rating systems best. SPIN has a 5-star system, and they seem to give every damn record three stars, which is really helpful let me tell you (no it’s not). So I will hereby have a 4-star system:
* – This record isn’t good.
** – Not recommended, but not completely terrible. Truly committed fans might like it (if they’re forgiving).
*** – Recommended; worth it if you like or are interested in the band or new music generally.
**** – This record is super-good and you should like it.
I will reserve an off-the-charts five-colored-stars rating for records that would make my list of ten to take to a deserted island for the rest of my life.
** – Music Saves Lives – Warped Tour ’07, with the qualifier that if you get it for free (like I did) or see it used for a buck or two, you’ll get a few good tracks for your iTunes and that’s cool.