As I sashayed tiredly through the aisles of a mega-store that I'll refrain from naming here, my eyes glazed patronizingly while glancing the new releases rack. Not only had I not pulled through on my promise to pick up Alkaline Trio's Goddamnit Redux, I couldn't find the f-ing thing anywhere (I won't give in and buy it online because I'm stubborn like that). I had shimmied on over to the new release aisle and, feeling in a rather punk mood, stifled a yawn over the meager selection of buy-worthy albums.
Then, it occurred to me the new Pennywise album had hit the shelves today. Just three discs left in the rack. Had it sold an obscene amount of copies on the first day? As far as I could tell, I was in a neighborhood infested with mascara-donning mall-rat 'emos.' It was far more likely the store had a limited stock of the product. Plus, they're giving away the damn thing for free.
And a thought occurred to me. Maybe it was the lack of choices on the shelf. Maybe the music industry stood viciously over my shoulder, whispering sweet money-grubbing nothings in my egg-shell ear. Maybe it was complete self-assurance. At that moment, I had to buy the new Pennywise album, whether I could get it free or not. I wanted to make a statement to the industry, and then I wanted to brag about it in my blog.
Why not buy Pennywise's new album? If you have ten bucks to drop, you can tell Pennywise yourself that you'll still be buying their music in thirty years when they're touring in adult diapers. I mean, download the new Panic at the Disco album. Most of that money is going to the bigwigs, anyway. But buy that Pennywise album!
So I left the store, immediately tore open the plastic wrap, slid that baby into my six-disc changer and cruised out of the parking lot in my red 2000 Chevy Suburban with that shit on full-blast.
Then, I got back to my house and read a blog post by August Brown of the Los Angeles Times ranting about Pennywise trumping contemporary mainstream punk's (I use the word 'punk' loosely here) wayward attitude. Eloquently put (after all, August does write for the LA Times, not a music blog that barely anyone reads), August takes pot-shots at this generation of tweens, the sickening tribe of youngins that think punk rock is a Fall Out Boy song with a fast beat.
August, you aren't entirely off the mark here. But your credibility was shot after you blogged about Emmylou Harris (and called her 'timeless'). Sure, you referenced Conor Oberst as a Harris fan, but I wouldn't ever name-drop someone so musically schizophrenic and hit-or-miss and expect your point to hit home.
Still, some of the comments on the blog are pretty harsh. And, seriously, who makes it a point to call someone out for using the word 'core' the wrong way? If you want to argue over the word 'core,' get off your three thousand dollar computer, glue your mohawk up and go to a damn anarchist rally, if they still have those. Seriously commenter dude, pick your battles.
At the same time, you're making a difficult case when you group H20, Hot Water Music, Face to Face, Goldfinger, Bouncing Souls, 7 Seconds and Dillinger Escape Plan in the same article. Think about your target demographic here, August.
And please, never compare Paramore to Dismemberment Plan. That's like comparing Bozo the Clown and Picasso. That's an exaggeration, by the way.
August, I don't want to stoop to the level of your 'adoring' public, so I'll point out some positives. The article is loaded with witty commentary (e.g. your reference to Hot Water Music's vocalist as "a singer who sounds like a pirate," regardless of the fact that "singer" should be plural when referencing HWM). Kudos on comparing Pete Wentz to Poison's C.C. Deville (readers: Wikipedia him). And, overall, I enjoyed the overarching theory that mall-emos are moving away from the new celebrity personas of pop-punks elite.
But that's simply not true, August. People still watched Travis Barker's reality television show, even if it did suck.
Bands like Pennywise aren't reemerging. They've always been on top. They've always been the definition of the scene. They've always been the second-generation punk powerhouse that they are today. I'd like to propose a different theory, that, as these Blink 182 kids grow older, Pennywise starts to make sense in the entropy of a violent, broken scene. Maybe one day, we can only hope the FOB/MCR kids will be in the same boat as the Blink 182ers.
The only time the kids could ever really get Pennywise was when Pennywise themselves were only children. That day is long gone.
I grew up with the second generation punkers. They'll chew you up and spit you out if you don't know the right places to draw the lines. You may want to revisit Emmylou Harris in your next blog and leave punk rock to the professionals.
“It's like a bunch of hard-core kids who decided they were going to write pop music.”
- Pete "C.C. Deville" Wentz