so, this should probably be part of a longer post that is a variation on a theoretical conversation I’ve had with myself many times, defending the subgenre (though not the word or the associations) of late 90’s “emo”, but its not, so I digress…
In the year 2000 (the year two-thous-AND!) I was a high school junior, and, like roughly 98% of high school juniors, searching for an identity. I was a drama nerd who had come to realize I didn’t like the drama nerds I hung out with, and a smart over-achiever who didn’t hang out with the other smart over-achievers that were my friends in elementary and middle school. One thing I knew I liked was music, and whilst my strange, formative friendship with an older much-loved, much-drug-addled, outsider named Zack H. had turned me on to bands like Bright Eyes, Modest Mouse, and, most importantly, Elliott Smith, I still was hanging on to such terrible bands as Dave Matthews Band and Guster. Enter a CD given to me by my friend (and fellow drama geek) Greg C. The album was called “Something To Write Home About” and, it was, of course, by the Get Up Kids. Along with weezer’s twin colossus of debut albums, it would come to define the end of my high school career, and would be replaced only when I went off to college two years later, and then only by the Get Up Kids arguably better (and strangely more mature) debut, Four Minute Mile. Through the Get Up Kids (and crush on a much cooler girl during my summer studies program at Brown) i discovered bands that meant (and still mean) a lot to me, most notably The Promise Ring, Jets to Brazil, Jimmy Eat World, and the like. I still love a lot of that music, and I will defend its right to exist, despite the so-so turns the groups took, despite the flash-in-the-pan third generation “emo” it sparked and I, for a time, ate up (here’s looking at you, Juliana Theory) and definitely in spite of the truly awful fourth and fifth gen emo that put the nail in that words coffin forever (where art thou, My Chemical Romance?).
But the point is this. The Get Up Kids defined, in a way I desperately needed, that time in my life for me. For four or five years, I didn’t need to say how I felt about being away from home, from my friends, about getting into a huge fight with someone I used to love like a brother, about long distance relationships, about how much our summers meant together, etc because I had Fall Semester, Don’t Hate Me, Red Letter Day, Shorty, Out of Reach, Close to Home, WIsh You Were Here, and Campfire Kansas to say it for me.
Whilst I still love that band (my song now is Coming Clean) I didn’t have that one, definitive, these-songs-were-written-for-me-somehow group in my life for a while. And then, enter, the Dismemberment Plan. This post is already too long, and these are hardly new thoughts, but what tGUPK were for my late teens and early twenties, the Dismemberment Plan is for my mid (and sadly soon, i suspect) my late twenties. Moved to a new place but it feels the same? Spider in the Snow. Lie to your mom about what good time youre having far from home? The Ice of Boston. Have to make yourself brush your teeth? The Jitters. My entire life right now, minus one or two songs? All of Change. Plus they rock. So I guess, what I’m saying is;
Dear Travis Morrison,