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Monday, April 28, 2008

It's not about winning. It's about you and your relationship with yourself, your family and your friends.

Today, Eric posted a fourth collection of songs considered emo/post-hardcore from the Nineties. This time it's at a crucial turning point between underground visibility and mainstream visibility. I pinpoint 1999 as a major turning point since the Get Up Kids' Something to Write Home About, the Promise Ring's Very Emergency, and Jimmy Eat World's Clarity were all released that year. By 2001, with the crossover, platinum success of Jimmy Eat World's Bleed American, things have not been the same, for better or for worse.

I don't blame people who don't follow music like I do to just gloss over the transition years between Nevermind, Dookie, OK Computer, and Bleed American. However, a big motivating factor for me is to remind people that nothing really happens overnight or out of thin air.

There's something to be said whenever I talk with people who were involved in some form or fashion with post-hardcore/emo, hardcore, and/or pop-punk in the mid- to late Nineties. They were defining years for these people, and they still think highly of them. Of course, they're not saying those were the best years of their lives, but there was something special going on for them. Be it putting on a show, letting a band stay with them, putting out a 7", doing a zine, playing in a band, and/or just going to shows, there was something more intimate -- moreover, powerful.

When asked why I should try to document this, I can't find a reason not to.

As I've gone over Post again and again in the last few months, I can't but think there's a Friday Night Lights vibe to it. No, I'm not comparing its quality to the book, film, and series of the same name. Rather, it's this sense of defining personal success over what is widely considered success to those that aren't directly involved (you know, winning the big game, getting the girl, defeating the villain, making lots of money, etc.). Only two of the bands I covered had records that sold over 500,000 copies, but that's just small potatoes compared to everything else I covered.

To me, if Friday Night Lights covered the undefeated season following the year they lost in the playoffs, it wouldn't have the same impact. Sure, we prefer happy endings, but there's a deeper, emotional reward that goes beyond winning a championship (or in the case of Post, getting a Gold record). The experience is what counts the most.

If I chose to cover Death Cab for Cutie, Bright Eyes, Dashboard Confessional, Taking Back Sunday, and Fall Out Boy, coupled with the Get Up Kids, At the Drive-In, and Jimmy Eat World, I don't think it would be that compelling of a read. Nevermind the fact that it would be a disjointed read, I personally like to hear more stories about the underdogs who've never had as much coverage as the popular ones. Recently reading Dean Wareham's memoir, Black Postcards, about his time in Galaxie 500 and Luna, was far more compelling than say, Marc Spitz's book on Green Day, Nobody Likes You.

But, that's just me.

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