“I can’t leave with words like these
They’ll break the bones that hold up my sleeves

I’ve got to tie her so high her breath freezes before she speaks
But this bus just won’t go far enough
So I’ll strap my face to a homemade bomb
And blow the bus stop through the parking lot
We’ll celebrate like we were free

I know a place where we can both get laced
Take some time to learn about your face
About bawling and bell curves, about strength from inhalers
And I’ll take the fifth and you can just sit
And I’ll watch from a distance while you open it
This is how I will keep her 

In pieces, she’s a keeper

And I’ll be holding my breath with the best
My breath with the best intentions

This is not for me, your perfume struggles perfectly
It wraps around and screams at me,
‘My hero tastes like plastic, he’s elastic and now he’s dead.’

My straight-faced grin is the first to leave
Hand in hand with the queen of tragedy

Why do I hurt just on purpose?
I guess I lack a purpose

So smile like a child sitting in the sea
Forget about what’s in the water and just focus in on me
I’ll be the phantom of the opera
I’ll be the lantern you blow out first

And I’ll be holding my breath with the best
My breath with the best intentions

This is not for me, your perfume struggles perfectly
It wraps around and screams at me,
‘My hero tastes like plastic, he’s elastic and now he’s dead’

And I’ll be the reason you’ll leave this city.

And I’ll be the reason you’ll leave this city.


This is not for me, your perfume struggles perfectly
It wraps around and screams at me
‘My hero tastes like plastic, he’s elastic and now he’s dead.'”
~The Pornographer’s Daughter
 Northstar, Pollyanna
Caught a story last week ranking the definitive bands of years and eras, and it made me realize what a difficult task that would be for me to do on my own, in a subjective, personal sense. Often, bands I encounter don’t take hold on me until one or two or six years later, when mood and measure align – and so the band may have made its mark on music long before it did on my mind. So it shows up later on my timeline, likely in stronger sense than when I first took a listen and underscored by rediscovery.
One of the best examples of this is Northstar, whose 2005 “Pollyanna” is something of a cult favorite, a particularly warm brand of emotive pop punk with ballad roots and aggressive fills. The contrast between the latter is usually perfect. 
While I knew this record back when, I took more of an instant liking to Cassino,the side project of singer, lyricist and guitarist Nick Torres. Not until the past couple years has this album become something I really appreciated; not until the past couple weeks did it become one of those I’d rather listen to than almost anything else. Baked with sadness, regret and visceral metaphor, decorated with the precise guitar lines you might expect from a band of this era, Northstar shines a little brighter than the rest of their scene in the rear view. 
Their best lines and harmonic progressions dance in perfect step, accentuated with subtle rhyme. Their minor-side melodies come from fast, controlled fingers, their rhythm section is pop punk mastery, adding muscle and movement to the skeleton of not-quite-lost love poetry.  “Pollyanna” is an album where hope is hardly visible, a dying flame, but the momentum of its flicker is just enough to burn the whole place down. I’m enraptured, always, by the word choice, by the unique structure of snaked along sentences and in-the-moment reflections. I’m singing along at the top of lungs, wishing I could say it all this well, wishing I could realize in this way. It may be nine years since these songs found ears willing to listen, but it’s tonight that mine have found them to hear.

“I’ve got this weakening grip
around her arm, around her hips.
her silhouette’s my favorite,
I’m not letting go of it.
I’m not letting go of it.

She’s got a leash that grips my teeth, 

that cleans the air I breathe
It’s wrapped around this city.

You look so lovely running through my fingers,
running through my fingers
where everything’s always felt right.

You look so lovely running through my fingers,
running through my fingers
where everything’s always felt right.

I will chase it, grab it, stake it
Run until she fakes it,

We all blew faster,
An oncoming disaster,
I will let this hurt.

You look so lovely running through my fingers,
running through my fingers
where everything’s always felt right.

You look so lovely.”