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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Don't Turn Away from Ignorance is Bliss

I was talking with Kyle the other night about various things. One of them was on face to face, a band we share much admiration and love for. Turns out he received an advance copy of the forthcoming face to face retrospective, Shoot the Moon: the Essential Collection, and read off the tracklisting to me. After hearing the list of songs, I was taken aback by the fact that there are no songs from the band's fourth proper album, Ignorance is Bliss. I could understand why songs from it were left out because they are much different from their other material, however if they are trying to hide Ignorance is Bliss, I'd be very pissed at them. Here's some backstory:

After their classic debut album, Don't Turn Away, was released on Dr. Strange (and later, Fat Wreck), face to face found themselves in the major label world of Polygram. First they were on Victory Music (no, not the metal/punk/ska/emo label based in Chicago - it was an imprint with such fellow artists as Yes on the label) then they were on A&M (the label that brought us the Carpenters and Herb Alpert) and then they found themselves on Beyond Music (with labelmates such as Motley Crue and Blondie). Ignorance is Bliss, their first album for Beyond, was a drastically different album than any of their past work. More influenced by the Foo Fighters, Catherine Wheel and the Cure than Bad Religion and Social Distortion, face to face was making a bold and brave step away from the confines of the safe-for-your-suburbanite-teen-who-wants-it-fast pop-punk. They drew a lot of criticism for making the album, but they said that the album kept the band going after temporarily breaking up. Their follow-up (which arrived one year later) was called Reactionary, an album more in the vibe of their past material but still showcased some sides of Ignorance is Bliss. After cutting one more album in the vibe their pre-IiB material, How to Ruin Everything, the band called it quits in 2003.

I remember hearing some of the Ignorance is Bliss material on tour before the album came out in stores. I thought the songs were great, but a lot of other people in the crowd gave them relatively lukewarm reactions (no boos, but a lot of mild clapping). This material definitely wasn't the mosh-inducing material that most pop-punk fans wanted to hear, but as someone who was open to change as long as it yielded good results, I was pleased.

Now getting the impression that the band is skipping over Ignorance is Bliss for their "essential" collection, I raise a flag.

Say a married couple has five children. All were conceived out of love and were healthy in the birthing process. However, one of the children in the middle has pretty different traits (but not radically different) than his/her siblings. The child came from the same parents (no black sheep or red-headed stepchild references here) and was raised much like his/her siblings were but just turned out a little different. Now how would it feel to pretend that this child doesn't really exist?

I really don't think face to face's ex-members are embarrassed by Ignorance is Bliss. The album came out during a weird period for the band and it reflects that time very well. I may be jumping to bigger conclusions than what has been implied but I can't help but urge people interested in face to face's music to check out Ignorance is Bliss. The cool thing is that you can find a used copy in almost any used record store in the country. Who knows, maybe one day this will be as highly touted as Weezer's Pinkerton.

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