As much as I groan at the sights and sounds of most young bands somewhere on the emo and hardcore radars, I actually do like a few of them. I dig Taking Back Sunday (especially Where You Want to Be), Atreyu, Thursday and Thrice to name a few. Then there are songs by bands that I enjoy but I wouldn’t consider myself a fan, like Yellowcard’s “Ocean Avenue” and the Used’s “The Taste of Ink.” Where I go from there usually induces eye rolling and the saying of phrases like, “Oh brother.”
Right now, lots of people are apparently really excited about Fall Out Boy. Their songs are on TRL and the radio and girls like to scream at the sight of them, especially bassist Pete Wentz. Fall Out Boy’s music is an amalgam of pop-punk, emo and hardcore-lite; in other words, this is right up the alley of people into bands like Taking Back Sunday. For me, when I hear their music, I can’t get into it. Simply put, I don’t get a strong reaction from their music or frontman Patrick Stump’s voice.
Hawthorne Heights is another band I can’t say I favor. Not only is the music (which is hardcore-lite to say the least) lacking but with puppy love scribbling like “I’m outside your window with my radio/I sleep with one eye open so I can see you breathing,” I can’t give this band a “hell yeah.” Whenever I hear a band like this, all I can think of is the late great band, Grade.
Grade was a band that utilized screaming and singing, emo melodies and lyrics all with convincing sincerity. They put out a few records on Second Nature Recordings and Victory to some varying degrees of praise. They were appreciated in their day and they still get some good props today, but there should be more. They should be credited with making a distinct sound in the bridge between emo melancholy and hardcore toughness.
When I first heard Thursday’s Full Collapse, all I could think of was Grade but with a different singer. Thursday was a little angrier and angst-filled and whaddaya know, they got popular with a younger generation of music fans. When I heard Taking Back Sunday’s Tell All Your Friends, I thought this was an even more watered-down version of Grade but with more pop hooks. Something was going on.
Music is crucial in any stage of life, but I get a tad annoyed by how exploitative it gets with marketing as much as possible to a younger buying audience. I don’t know if this is intentional or not, but if the masterplan is to stay away from releasing quality music (read: music that makes a strong impact upon first listen and continues for many years to come, regardless of culture change or age) to a younger audience so they can later feel ripped off and seek out the good stuff buried underneath, then they are well on course.