The decade is almost over, and the barrage of "Best of the 2000's" lists are swamping the internet. Of course, this calls for a celebration of the best punk rock music of the '90s. Why not?! Maybe it's nostalgia, maybe it's just a general disgust with the lists these hipster blogs are compiling, but it seems like a perfect time to revisit the music I cut my teeth on as a wee lad. To be honest, I think the '90s will go down in history as the last golden age of music. Y'know, when it actually took hard work and skill to pick up some instruments and put out a record that people actually paid for?! Yeah, I'll be 30 in two months and I kinda sound like a crotchety old man, but just look at the recorded evidence. The next Random Old Records podcast will be chock-full of badass '90s punk rock, and I'll be counting down the five best punk albums of the decade this week. Here's number five!
5. The Get Up Kids - Four Minute Mile
Sure, you can lay blame on the Get Up Kids for encouraging the likes of Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance and fostering their crimes against music. In fact, you'd be forgiven for casting a suspicious eye on their lofty place on this list. But remember, when they busted out of Kansas City in 1997, the Get Up Kids were packin' a sound that no one had ever heard before. Marrying the buzzsaw pop-punk of the early '90s Lookout Records sound to the artsy, aggro energy of the San Diego emo scene, stirring in Sunny Day Real Estate-style drama, then leavening it with a dollop of early '80s new wave sweetness, the Get Up Kids created a sound that resonated with every pissed off and bummed out young person who bothered to listen.
No lie, Four Minute Mile sounds like a high school notebook set to music: awkward, obnoxious, confused, and full of energy. The recording is honest and blunt, documenting every cracked vocal and fumble-fingered guitar riff. Emo has gotten such a bad name thanks to the fashion model crabcore set, but the Get Up Kids captured it back when it was vital and, well, EMOTIONAL! No detached irony, no overly long song titles, just real talk, honest and naked. From the Cars-style keyboard stabs of "Don't Hate Me" to the "I'll be here if you need anything!" explosion in "Stay Gold, Ponyboy" to the gloves-off, screaming conclusion of "No Love," Four Minute Mile documents the eloquent stupidity of growing up better than any other album I can think of right now.
Tune in tomorrow for #4 on the list, and don't forget to subscribe to the Random Old Records Podcast by clicking the iTunes link to your right!