Sunday, September 23, 2007


I'm not dead, I swear. Between the move to California and not having internet - or a stove, or a fridge, or hot water - I've been kinda busy. But updates should be more regular, or at least that is the hope.

First off, I'd like to address a few comments that have been made recently:
- Stay on My Side Tonight (Jimmy Eat World) is not better than Futures. Perhaps the original ideas were more creative than some of the ideas found on Futures, but their execution is poor and usually repetitive. "Disintegration" displays Jim Adkins at his 80s-influenced worst, and "Over" sounds like a Static Prevails-era b-side. "Closer" is a bright spot, but even its big arena-rock riff at the 3:40 mark is eerily reminiscent of "If You Don't, Don't" (which is a much better song). Also, what I've heard of "Chase this Light" is less than promising, but I'm withholding judgement.
- Daphne Loves Derby is one of the most overrated bands in existence currently. I'm sorry, Lars, but it's true. If it weren't for current digital technology (AutoTune, anybody?), the band would still be just another PureVolume lurker.
- I saw the Starting Line last week, and while their live show is tons of fun, hearing new songs alongside older ones proved my point: they don't hold up as well. The show was going great until the started "Are You Alone?" and killed all the energy for 3+ minutes. "Direction" was hilarious thanks to the (seated, geeky) keyboard player doing most of the shouts and yells in the verses. High comedy. While they've admittedly become more technical, I think the newer songs have less instant melody, which has been a TSL staple. Better luck next time.

Lastly, I'm seeing the Foo Fighters tomorrow. In a venue the size of the Metro, for all of you familiar with that famous Chicago location. To say I'm stoked would be the understatement of the year, especially since their new album has proved to be their best one since "There Is Nothing Left to Lose," if not "The Colour and the Shape" itself. I'm prepared to take on any challengers of that statement (as usual), so feel free to fire away.

Love you all, hopefully you'll be seeing more of me soon.


Lars said...

Wow I guess its been awhile since I looked at your blog... but I'll tell you what, I'm glad I didn't see this post when you originally wrote it. Because if I HAD, then I wouldn't have put up much of a fight against your Daphne comment. You see, contrary to popular belief, I have not been that into Daphne for all these years. Yes, I went through a small obsession with them when they first exploded on PureVolume (the "self-titled" and "Closing Down the Pattern Department" era) and I still maintain that these are great albums (especially considering they were written in high school). But after a disappointing follow-up ("On The Strength of All Convinced"), and a lackluster live show at the Wheaton Grand, they dropped WAY down on my list of favorite bands. I mean WAY down.

So, when "Good Night, Witness Light" came out last spring, I really wanted to like it. But, unfortunately, I didn't. After a couple listens, I wrote it off as just another step in the wrong direction, assuming that Daphne had officially peaked with "Closing" and had nothing more to offer. However, several months later, I gave it another listen. Lo and behold, I started picking up on some nuances that I had missed before; I started finding some value in the album. Sure enough, it went on to become one of my favorite albums of the summer. BUT, by the time you wrote this little blog, in early fall, most of the infatuation had worn off. I still liked the album, but I was sort of "over it" if you will. SO, had I read this post at that time, I most likely wouldn't have said much about your Daphne comments. Sure, I could have argued that they were trying to expand their repertoire musically, and that the album was somewhat of a comeback after "Strength"... but was that really saying much? It wouldn't necessarily refute your statement about digital technology. (Although, I would like to point out the flaw in that reasoning: how does the development of digital technology give Daphne a leg up over any other bands? After all, the nature of the technology is that it is available to everyone... so the only explanation would be that Daphne has something extra that they were able to capitalize on with this new technology, which, if anything, seems to say that Daphne is NOT overrated.... but all that is beside the point).

ANYWAY... The point is, something happened recently that completely changed my mind about Daphne, which is why I'm glad that I didn't read this post until AFTER it happened. This "event" I've been referring to was a small show they played in Minneapolis while I was home over fall break. I've already been quite longwinded with this comment, so I'll try to quicken the pace here; but let me just say that it was the best show I've been to in a LONG time. It was fantastic. They blew me away. Not only did every song they played sound way BETTER than on their album, but they did things musically that the recordings didn't even touch on. There were new intros, new guitar parts, etc. that all far surpassed anything they did on their album. They bordered on jamming. Not only that, but they somehow managed to make me reconsider songs off "Strength" that I had always hated. That's how good they sounded live. And believe me, this was not just me wearing "rose-colored glasses" and automatically loving everything they did. As I've already said, the last time I saw them live I hated it. So you need to trust me on this one - this time around, they were amazing.

After the show, I went back to "Good Night" and loved it all the more. I think there are some extremely brilliant and new things that they are doing with their music - things that nobody else is doing - and I applaud it. I will admit, there are flaws in the album, most notably the lack of catchy choruses and kenny's sometimes awkward lyrical flow. BUT, these don't get in the way for me of what is truly an innovative emo pop album.

The interesting thing I want to mention about this show (besides, of course, the fantastic musicianship) was the behavior of the crowd. The opening band was one I'd never heard of (and subsequently hated): The Higher. The next band was This Providence (whom I liked a lot more than Daphne going into the show, and a lot less than Daphne going out). And finally came Daphne, the headliners. What was interesting about the crowd for these three bands was that it continually dwindled with each successive band. The crowd for Daphne was probably half the size that it had been for The Higher. I actually felt bad for them, especially after seeing them play so brilliantly.

So there are two points that I would like to make from all this. The first is that, contrary to what you say, Daphne does not rely on digital technology to make their music passable. In fact, I think that their music actually sounds BETTER when played live, without any of this "overproduction" as you might call it. And I should also note that Kenny's vocals were spot on for the entire show. The same can't be said, unfortunately, for This Providence's singer. This seems to imply that Kenny doesn't rely on auto-tuning... Anyway the second point is that DLD's popularity actually seems to be quite low, based on the crowd size and on their albums' success in general. How can such an unpopular band be considered OVERrated? Therefore, I think that not only is their music completely deserving of any praise it may recieve, but on top of this I think they are an UNDERrated band, both critically and popularly.

The reason I've said so much about Daphne is because, well, you said so little about them. I think you have a tendency to write off certain bands with simple (and often, I suspect, not wholeheartedly thought-out) dismissive statements. I will chalk this one up to plain ignorance, since you obviously did not have the opportunity to see Daphne in the same light that I did. In general, I have a huge respect for your musical knowledge and opinions. You certainly eclipse me in this area. But sometimes I think that you may miss things; sometimes you become a little bit too set in your ways to recognize when you need to give a piece of music a closer listen. You develop a certain idea about a band or an album, and then you filter everything else you hear about them through that idea - preventing any chance of you changing your mind. Or at least that's how it looks to me... which is why sometimes I just like to do my best to give you a different perspective. In this case I got impassioned enough to write a friggin essay on the thing. (Although it's probably necessary to stave off any fallout from when I place them in the top three of my favorite albums 2007 list)


Lars said...

I forgot to mention though.... I completely agree with you about "Stay On My Side Tonight." Probably the lowest point of Jimmy's career, besides maybe "Static Prevails". And The Starting Line? Maybe I'll leave that one alone this time around.... haha