[In each installment of Record Club, our editors take a month-long dive into an album we care about, culminating in an in-depth discussion and other supplementary features. Our first go is Blink-182's monster 1999 breakthrough Enema of the State. Read our roundtable here, and check out our interview with Blink-182 guitarist Tom Delonge.]
Blink-182‘s Enema of the State was by far the biggest pop-punk breakout of 1999, selling 15 million copies and laying the foundation for an era of commercial pop-punk that included massively successful acts like Good Charlotte, Sum 41 and Fall Out Boy. But this fall also marks the 15th anniversary of other angsty, catchy, guitar-rock records that made a massive impact on the lives of thousands of teens and 20-somethings across the country (this one included) and have influenced countless pop-punk bands in the years since.
The Get Up Kids, Something to Write Home About
Released: September 28, 1999, on Vagrant Records
Kansas City, Missouri’s the Get Up Kids were never commercially successful, but thousands have found solace in their second full-length, 1999′s Something to Write Home About, a record that’s often pensive and heartbroken instead of angry or vengeful. The band’s most obvious musical influence is proto-pop-punk superheroes Superchunk: Matt Pryor has openly admitted to “copping Mac McCaughan’s vocal style” and they both write energizing punk songs that are more complex than a set of three power chords a la Blink-182 or Green Day.
Thanks to Pryor’s angsty, lovelorn lyrics and softer instrumentation (they strip down to acoustic guitar on “Out of Reach,” and “I’ll Catch You” is piano driven), they’re known mostly for being emo rather than punk, but there are just as many fist-pumping anthems like “Holiday” and “Ten Minutes.” The Get Up Kids bookended my high school years: I first heard them in 2001 when I was a freshman. Right after graduation, I was shouting the words to “Red Letter Day” at their last Detroit show on their farewell tour.
Most AIM-profile-worthy lyrics: “I see it all much clearer now/ You’re just a phase I’ve gotten over anyhow” (“Red Letter Day”); “Everything we’ve found says make your own destiny/ But you’re unaware/ that you should be scared/ Maybe you’ll learn from mistakes that we make/ We’re not waiting forever” (“Close to Home”)
What they’ve been up to: After the band initially broke up in 2005, keyboardist James DeWees (sole remaining member of Get Up Kids side project Reggie and the Full Effect) joined My Chemical Romance, Rob Pope joined Spoon and Matt Pryor released albums with the New Amsterdams, as well as on his own. The Get Up Kids reformed in 2009 to celebrate this album’s 10th anniversary and in 2011 released a new studio LP There Are Rules, a more experimental and less straightforward effort than the band’s earlier music. They recently played Something to Write Home About in full at Riot Fest Chicago.
New Found Glory, Nothing Gold Can Stay
Released: October 19, 1999, on Drive-Thru Records
New Found Glory were a natural next step for Blink-182 fans, in part because they opened the trio’s Take Off Your Pants and Jacket amphitheater tour in the summer of 2001. This then-14-year-old was dropped off at Pine Knob Music Theater in Clarkston, Michigan, two nights in a row, with a group of equally Blink-obsessed friends. On the first night, I bought a super-girly light blue NFG T-shirt adorned with a pink heart being held up by angel wings — after the show, I got it signed by everyone in the band except for drummer Cyrus Bolooki. I brought the shirt with me to every show of theirs I attended after that, in hopes of completing it, which finally happened at Warped Tour about four years later. It’s still at my dad’s house in Michigan and it’s never been worn.
Though the Florida group’s breakout releases were their self-titled sophomore album (2000) and Sticks and Stones (2002), hardcore fans inevitably found their way back to their first full-length, too. The songs on Nothing Gold Can Stay are about healing a broken heart through music (“Hit or Miss”), long-distance relationships (“It Never Snows in Florida”) and emotional insecurity (“Do you still think I’m funny?” Jordan Pundik sings on “Winter of ’95″), paired with catchy, crunchy power chords and nasally vocals. The albums that followed are known for their radio-ready choruses and glossy production, but Nothing Gold is more emotional and refreshingly rough around the edges.
Most AIM-profile-worthy lyrics: “My name is a disappointment/ I only disappoint myself.” (“3rd and Long”); “Stupid games are for stupid people” (“2′s and 3′s”); “Oh no/ It must be something I said/ Love is another word for regret.” (“You’ve Got a Friend in Pennsylvania”)
What they’ve been up to: New Found Glory are still at it. They just released their eighth album Resurrection on October 7, their first as a quartet (after losing guitarist Steve Klein to “personal differences” and truly repulsive sex crime allegations).
Saves the Day, Through Being Cool
Released: November 2, 1999, on Equal Vision
When Chris Conley sings about a breakup, he’s not singing, “I got dumped; girls are the worst,” like his peers in Blink-182 or New Found Glory. Instead it’s more like, “You ripped out my insides and threw them on the floor and I can’t go on with my life.” Pairing devastating lyrics with racing, distorted riffs, Saves the Day‘s 1999 masterpiece is mostly about deep, devastating heartbreak, as well as the universal stress of navigating teenage life. There are songs about cathartic late-night drives and wanting to escape to Montana, Ohio or Kansas — in Conley’s case, anywhere but his New Jersey suburbs — and a couple of vital anti-bullying anthems whose lyrics will forever give teens some peace of mind (“I choose my company by the beating of their hearts/ Not the swelling of their heads,” goes “My Sweet Fracture”).
Most AIM-profile-worthy lyrics: “Heart is on the floor/ Why don’t you step on it?” (“Rocks Tonic Juice Magic”); “I’m diving in this river/ And I’m fishing out my heart/ And I’m never gonna let you get your hands on this again” (“Holly Hox, Forget me Nots”); “Could you tell me the next time that you’re choking/ I’ll run right over to shove some dirt right down your throat” (“My Sweet Fracture”); “The next time you see Nick/ Tell him I’m gonna stick some needles in his face” (“Through Being Cool”)
What they’ve been up to: Saves the Day have churned out albums pretty consistently since 1998; their most recent is a self-titled LP from 2013. Right now they’re getting ready for a nostalgia-filled tour with Say Anything and Reggie and the Full Effect this winter, where they’ll play this glorious album in full. This 27-year-old is hoping to be there, to bring it full circle.