Yesterday, a Facebook post from Straylight Run with a clip of a new song made my day. It had been a really bad day, so to hear new material from one of my all-time favorite groups was just the ticket.
Today, I stumbled across their self-titled first record during an afternoon listening session, and I remembered how much I loved it. I think it really captures the spirit, emotion and ideals of a lot of early 2000s groups. It’s eloquent and soft, but not so soft that it doesn’t flood you with emotional prowess after a full-length listen. Also, it’s a really great sing-along record once you know all the words. Choruses in “The Tension and the Terror,” “Mistakes We Knew We Were Making,” and “Your Name Here” were made to belted out–and from the sound of the clip I heard yesterday, John Nolan continues to belt like no other. Praise the gods.
And of course, who could forget “Existentialism on Prom Night?” Songs like that (and titles like that) shaped the the blogging tastemakers who we’re taking advice from.
If you listen to their newer songs, they’ve got the same sound as the band’s earlier material. Soaring, catchy choruses, Nolan’s scratching, clawing desperation, and creative, precise rhyming and word emphasis. Unfortunately, I don’t know how successful all this is seen in the eyes of critics. True fans of the band’s vibe and sound will love it, ’cause it’s simply more from Straylight Run. The once “it,” indie cool guys don’t get the same recognition they used to because their sound hasn’t given into fads. It’s a tale as old as pop music itself, I imagine, but it doesn’t get less sad with time. Its hard to tell how bands with true songwriting chops like SR that fit into a scene will survive after that scene evolves into something else.
I could go on for hours about this concept and it still would probably make no sense.
Unfortunately, not all music from the early aughts was as sweet as SR. The generational hipsters are seeking god know’s what in indie-ville, and the orchestral electro dance generation seems to be pushing aside those influenced by more traditional, alternative pop rock songwriting. I feel like it’s getting harder and harder for me to find new bands to gel with, unless I’m delving into new genres. ‘Cause to look under “indie” these days is not what it used to be.
Still, I am constantly on the lookout for new music, to write about and spread the word about in one medium or another. I’ve learned this–nothing new can feel as good as your favorite records on a hard day…music remains my mental medicine, time hasn’t seemed to change that.
Sidenote: 100th blog post! Congratulate me?