babrahamlincoln:

as per my cousin’s request… a playlist about how I got here.

i made this 40-track playlist in five minutes and while that sounds hasty, consider the fact that i’ve been listening to these songs for the past 4 years. it’s weird to think of college graduation as a benchmark for the music i listen to, because it’s not like i’m going to stop listening to some songs, or automatically start listening to an entirely new library of records. just like when you break up with someone, you don’t automatically stop listening to all the songs that reminded you of them, or the songs that were exchanged on mixtapes (okay, maybe for like a month, that’s a decent grace period for musical-emotional recovery).

i think this playlist portrays a jumbled yet linear timeline of how music accompanied my emotional progress throughout college. and this is merely a bookmark in the story, because it’s obviously not finished yet.

babrahamlincoln:

all roads lead towards home - songs that made me homesick while I was away in England, summer 2012

digging up my old 8tracks playlists.. this one is too good.

The only times I really listened to music on this trip was for the occasional long, scenic bus rides. These songs found me clinging to the relationship between their sound and the rolling hills of Beachy Head.

There was also a night I spent talking with another girl in my study abroad group. She’s the one that put the idea in my head that songs could make me homesick (and I never get homesick, not even when I’m across the sea). We sat out on the terrace of our hotel with our laptops, swapping titles of songs that made us feel something. One of the girls I shared a room with told me about “Baby Say Goodbye” by Wavves. I had heard the song before, just not the way she had. I remember listening to “A More Perfect Union” by Titus Andronicus on repeat. Even though I had Marlboro Reds on my tongue, I still longed for the taste of New Jersey.

I think this live version of “Dear Girl” at Insub is my favorite Steinways song. The only time you can hear the crowd is is when they do the background “oh-oooohs” in the second verse. Also Michelle Shirelle’s interjections are great because let’s be real she’s the best part of this band and she just pops in and reminds us she’s there while Grath sings about yet another girl who won’t date him.

And I’m willing to bet that we’ve still got nothing in common

I just thought you were really hot…

for best results, start listening at 1:12.

Holy shit, I can’t wait to see them play at Insub this year.

Waxahatchee "Cerulean Salt" 2013
I’ve been meaning to write about this new album for weeks. I fall more and more in love with it every time I listen to it all the way through, and after about 100 listens I think I’m ready to purge my thoughts and feelings.
The first couple seconds into the album, I had to double-check and make sure I was listening to the right thing, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. It goes without saying that Cerulean Salt is vastly different than American Weekend. Waxahatchee is no longer just Katie Crutchfield in a solitary room with a fuzzy guitar, but a hi-fi 3-piece outfit. It took me a while to get used to and I think this is what turned a lot of people off. But this is definitely an album you have to listen through a bunch of times, and in different settings, too: in your room on your laptop, on your headphones on the bus, and while walking home on a quiet night.
For example, I hated “Dixie Cups and Jars” the first time I heard it. It wasn’t until 16 listens later when I was alone with my thoughts on a walk home that I heard the line “makeup sits on your face like tar” and it felt like a stab in the gut.
Which brings me to the bold declaration that after hearing this album I can safely say that Crutchfield is one of my favorite lyricists. Her songs are lyrically dense, and I think that’s why it takes a few listens to really soak it all in. You can tell that no line, no word is put in each song in vain. I could go through practically every single P.S. Eliot and Waxahatchee lyric to point out examples, but let’s just look at Blue Pt. II because I think it’s particularly poignant (for me, at least).

If you think that I’ll wait forever, you were right and,I’ll give you everything you wanted if I canAnd when I look into your olive colored eyesI feel a breach, it makes me cry, it makes me cryI wake up early every morningAnd you sleep for hours after meIn our darkened bedroom,I can’t breath behind this curtain that we keepWe’ll wake up sober two weeks later;And we’re loving..The atmosphere is fucking tired it brings us nothingIf you think that I’ll stay forever you were right and,I’ll give you everything you wanted when I canAnd it may look like every hour is dictatedBy the chance of rainWe won’t want to dieWe won’t even feel an ounce of pain

I think this song made me realize that Crutchfield’s writing has been inspiring my own writing without me even noticing. While I absolutely love the lyrics in “Blue Pt. II,” I have to say that the next track, “Brother Bryan,” is my favorite on the album, and I knew it from the moment I heard the opening line, “I said to you on the night that we met that I’m not well.” It fucking hits home. If I appreciate “Blue Pt. II” lyrically as a whole, then “Brother Bryan” is the song I appreciate for its various lines that stick out for me. "My sister’s eyes flood like rivers of wine in your absence" is probably my favorite lyric on the entire album. I’ve read that this album centers around Crutchfield’s family life, and usually things concerning family (and more specfiically, sisters) just really digs at me. And the way she sings it is so smooth; her voice sounds like fresh water pouring into a glass.
What I love even more than “Brother Bryan” is the transition from that low, dark song to the next, “Coast to Coast.” I literally, out loud, said “holy shit” the first time I heard it. “Coast to Coast” sounds nothing like the Waxahatchee we all know in love… in fact, it’s a bit reminiscent of P.S. Eliot. JUST a tiny bit. The song is no doubt a sprint- both the shortest and most upbeat on the album. Regardless, it’s a break from the heavy tone of the rest of the album, and sounds like a typical tour song: “We lay at night, cursing our stage fright.” I also love the lyric, “We indulge every reckless whim.” It reminds me that Crutchfield isn’t even much older than I, and that she’s not some superhuman that I idolize, but an actual person.
The next track is where things start getting really weird. I had an internal “wait, NOOOOOO” moment when I realized that “Tangled Envisioning” sounds like it could be a Taylor Swift song. But I guess Crutchfeld ran the risk of that with the higher production quality on this album paired with a solitary acoustic guitar on this track.Thankfully, I had a sigh of relief  when I heard “Misery Over Dispute” which follows (it’s sandwiched with “Lively” serving as another piece of borderline-whiny Taylor Swift bread). It starts off with some powerful bass drum, an element that we lost from Crutchfield’s work when P.S. Eliot split and drummer/twin Alison Crutchfield moved on to her own project. I LOVE this bass drum, almost as much as I love the desperation you hear in her voice on the opening lines.
The last three songs, “Swan Dive,” “Peace and Quiet,” and “You’re Damaged” are each flawless. They’re all my runners-up for favorite song.
Overall I’m really pleased with the addition of other instrumentals on this album. While I love the lo-fi acoustic guitar paired with only Crutchfield’s balmy voice, it must be understood that Cerulean Salt is meant to have a tone entirely different from American Weekend. Nevertheless, they are both fantastic albums. So much love.

Waxahatchee "Cerulean Salt" 2013

I’ve been meaning to write about this new album for weeks. I fall more and more in love with it every time I listen to it all the way through, and after about 100 listens I think I’m ready to purge my thoughts and feelings.

The first couple seconds into the album, I had to double-check and make sure I was listening to the right thing, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. It goes without saying that Cerulean Salt is vastly different than American Weekend. Waxahatchee is no longer just Katie Crutchfield in a solitary room with a fuzzy guitar, but a hi-fi 3-piece outfit. It took me a while to get used to and I think this is what turned a lot of people off. But this is definitely an album you have to listen through a bunch of times, and in different settings, too: in your room on your laptop, on your headphones on the bus, and while walking home on a quiet night.

For example, I hated “Dixie Cups and Jars” the first time I heard it. It wasn’t until 16 listens later when I was alone with my thoughts on a walk home that I heard the line “makeup sits on your face like tar” and it felt like a stab in the gut.

Which brings me to the bold declaration that after hearing this album I can safely say that Crutchfield is one of my favorite lyricists. Her songs are lyrically dense, and I think that’s why it takes a few listens to really soak it all in. You can tell that no line, no word is put in each song in vain. I could go through practically every single P.S. Eliot and Waxahatchee lyric to point out examples, but let’s just look at Blue Pt. II because I think it’s particularly poignant (for me, at least).

If you think that I’ll wait forever, you were right and,
I’ll give you everything you wanted if I can
And when I look into your olive colored eyes
I feel a breach, it makes me cry, it makes me cry
I wake up early every morning
And you sleep for hours after me
In our darkened bedroom,
I can’t breath behind this curtain that we keep

We’ll wake up sober two weeks later;
And we’re loving..
The atmosphere is fucking tired it brings us nothing
If you think that I’ll stay forever you were right and,
I’ll give you everything you wanted when I can
And it may look like every hour is dictated
By the chance of rain
We won’t want to die
We won’t even feel an ounce of pain

I think this song made me realize that Crutchfield’s writing has been inspiring my own writing without me even noticing. While I absolutely love the lyrics in “Blue Pt. II,” I have to say that the next track, “Brother Bryan,” is my favorite on the album, and I knew it from the moment I heard the opening line, “I said to you on the night that we met that I’m not well.” It fucking hits home. If I appreciate “Blue Pt. II” lyrically as a whole, then “Brother Bryan” is the song I appreciate for its various lines that stick out for me. "My sister’s eyes flood like rivers of wine in your absence" is probably my favorite lyric on the entire album. I’ve read that this album centers around Crutchfield’s family life, and usually things concerning family (and more specfiically, sisters) just really digs at me. And the way she sings it is so smooth; her voice sounds like fresh water pouring into a glass.

What I love even more than “Brother Bryan” is the transition from that low, dark song to the next, “Coast to Coast.” I literally, out loud, said “holy shit” the first time I heard it. “Coast to Coast” sounds nothing like the Waxahatchee we all know in love… in fact, it’s a bit reminiscent of P.S. Eliot. JUST a tiny bit. The song is no doubt a sprint- both the shortest and most upbeat on the album. Regardless, it’s a break from the heavy tone of the rest of the album, and sounds like a typical tour song: “We lay at night, cursing our stage fright.” I also love the lyric, “We indulge every reckless whim.” It reminds me that Crutchfield isn’t even much older than I, and that she’s not some superhuman that I idolize, but an actual person.

The next track is where things start getting really weird. I had an internal “wait, NOOOOOO” moment when I realized that “Tangled Envisioning” sounds like it could be a Taylor Swift song. But I guess Crutchfeld ran the risk of that with the higher production quality on this album paired with a solitary acoustic guitar on this track.Thankfully, I had a sigh of relief  when I heard “Misery Over Dispute” which follows (it’s sandwiched with “Lively” serving as another piece of borderline-whiny Taylor Swift bread). It starts off with some powerful bass drum, an element that we lost from Crutchfield’s work when P.S. Eliot split and drummer/twin Alison Crutchfield moved on to her own project. I LOVE this bass drum, almost as much as I love the desperation you hear in her voice on the opening lines.

The last three songs, “Swan Dive,” “Peace and Quiet,” and “You’re Damaged” are each flawless. They’re all my runners-up for favorite song.

Overall I’m really pleased with the addition of other instrumentals on this album. While I love the lo-fi acoustic guitar paired with only Crutchfield’s balmy voice, it must be understood that Cerulean Salt is meant to have a tone entirely different from American Weekend. Nevertheless, they are both fantastic albums. So much love.

looking through my archives, I stumbled upon one of my meatier songjournal entries that was featured in the zine in June.

looking through my archives, I stumbled upon one of my meatier songjournal entries that was featured in the zine in June.

Here’s a song about feeling bad and feeling better…

In 2004 my sister’s hatred for me was in its infancy and my brother and I were 12 and 13 years old, respectively. We spent hours past our bedtimes not doing homework and watching Dashboard Confessional’s MTV Unplugged special that we had on DVD (and CD!). We talked about the mysteries behind Chris Carrabba’s tattoos and how we were green with envy over the kids in the audience who looked just like us, singing along, knowing immediately what song was being played with the first strum of the guitar.

If we were older we’d probably have made a drinking game around it, i.e. drink every time Chris Carrabba’s voice cracks. Nothing is sacred. But he taught us that:

We’re not 21, but the sooner we are the sooner the fun can begin. So get out your fake eyelashes and fake IDs and real disasters ensue. It’s cool to take these chances, it’s cool to fake romances, and grow up fast.

Eventually these moments of bonding bled out of my family and into my social life and my Friday nights turned into sing-a-longs in the streets of Howell and Freehold. We weren’t quite old enough to drive and were confined to our suburban sidewalks that led us back to our houses, where we’d listen to it all over again.

The Unlovables “Crush, Boyfriend, Heartbreak” 2005
I’ve listened to this album more times (as someone older than 14) than I’d like to admit.
This album has the structure of the ideal pop punk album: a story arc with the rising action of longing, excitement, antagonistic mid-relationship anxieties and then the falling action of heartbreak and depression. Makes me think of the progression of tracks on “Dorkrockcorkrod,” but this album was more appropriately/obviously titled.
I appreciate any band that makes a good song about long distance relationships. Every line of “If You Were Here” is perfect.

I looked at the map today
Counted seven states between us
If you don’t count New Jersey
….which I don’t

and the second half of the song is nothing but stereotypical pop punk couplets but the way Halley sings them make them flawless and it gets to the point of too much corny that it’s not even corny anymore?
“Today’s the Day (I Finally Kissed You)” is also probably one of my favorite pop punk songs of all time. It’s one of those songs I listen to over and over and realize how terrible it would have been if she had let some male band member do back-up vocals (this basically goes for every other song on the album).
I use the term “perfect” a lot to describe these songs even though

We’re both so busy
We work so hard and
I never see you, it’s totally retarded

is probably the most un-PC Unlovables lyric but also my favorite because it’s always stuck in my head and i relate all too much and the rhyme is so on point and Halley’s voice is just great.
THE RHYMING! We can’t forget how in “It Sucks” she actually rhymes “Oklahoma” with “cellphone-a.” A+ excellent would rhyme again etc.
The only song I feel off about is “Feelin All Emo” and I don’t know if it’s the way she says “pop punk girl” or the references to bands I listened to in middle school that left a worse taste in my mouth but I don’t care because Grath Madden’s parody of it has restored my faith in pop punk. “Feelin’ all emo since I ran out of weed” makes more sense anyway.
Come to think of it, most of the second half of this album actually kind of sucks.

If my brain were a computer
I’d delete all of the files on you
I’d just click drag over to the trash
Get over my life and start anew

Seriously?! C- lyric would not rhyme again.
I wasn’t kidding about the rise and fall on this album, folks.

The Unlovables “Crush, Boyfriend, Heartbreak” 2005

I’ve listened to this album more times (as someone older than 14) than I’d like to admit.

This album has the structure of the ideal pop punk album: a story arc with the rising action of longing, excitement, antagonistic mid-relationship anxieties and then the falling action of heartbreak and depression. Makes me think of the progression of tracks on “Dorkrockcorkrod,” but this album was more appropriately/obviously titled.

I appreciate any band that makes a good song about long distance relationships. Every line of “If You Were Here” is perfect.

I looked at the map today

Counted seven states between us

If you don’t count New Jersey

….which I don’t

and the second half of the song is nothing but stereotypical pop punk couplets but the way Halley sings them make them flawless and it gets to the point of too much corny that it’s not even corny anymore?

“Today’s the Day (I Finally Kissed You)” is also probably one of my favorite pop punk songs of all time. It’s one of those songs I listen to over and over and realize how terrible it would have been if she had let some male band member do back-up vocals (this basically goes for every other song on the album).

I use the term “perfect” a lot to describe these songs even though

We’re both so busy

We work so hard and

I never see you, it’s totally retarded

is probably the most un-PC Unlovables lyric but also my favorite because it’s always stuck in my head and i relate all too much and the rhyme is so on point and Halley’s voice is just great.

THE RHYMING! We can’t forget how in “It Sucks” she actually rhymes “Oklahoma” with “cellphone-a.” A+ excellent would rhyme again etc.

The only song I feel off about is “Feelin All Emo” and I don’t know if it’s the way she says “pop punk girl” or the references to bands I listened to in middle school that left a worse taste in my mouth but I don’t care because Grath Madden’s parody of it has restored my faith in pop punk. “Feelin’ all emo since I ran out of weed” makes more sense anyway.

Come to think of it, most of the second half of this album actually kind of sucks.

If my brain were a computer

I’d delete all of the files on you

I’d just click drag over to the trash

Get over my life and start anew

Seriously?! C- lyric would not rhyme again.

I wasn’t kidding about the rise and fall on this album, folks.

House Boat “The Thorns of Life” 2012
I’m embarrassed to admit how much I love this album, especially after I made it clear how I feel about Grath Madden’s role in the pop punk community. It reminds me of walking to my therapy appointments in the cold; I listened to this album two times through on my walks back and forth, uphill and down hill between New Brunswick and Highland Park. Kind of cliche, especially since I was having relationship issues at the time. And if you’ve ever listened to House Boat, you know that’s basically what they’re all about.
I gotta give him some credit though, because these have been some of my favorite lyrics as of late:


I’ve been through this before, I just don’t remember when
But when you put your hands on mine, oh I’m sixteen again


I also recently came across a girl on OkCupid who is really into puppets and my whole world is crashing down because I realized Grath was right about something. Pop punk songs about online dating = our future.
Choice tracks:
Who Let the Dogs Out?
A Song in Which I Convince Myself to Stop Being Such a Fucking Idiot
Quivering
Real Life As a Metaphor for Real Life
Barkmarket Fuckacy

House Boat “The Thorns of Life” 2012

I’m embarrassed to admit how much I love this album, especially after I made it clear how I feel about Grath Madden’s role in the pop punk community. It reminds me of walking to my therapy appointments in the cold; I listened to this album two times through on my walks back and forth, uphill and down hill between New Brunswick and Highland Park. Kind of cliche, especially since I was having relationship issues at the time. And if you’ve ever listened to House Boat, you know that’s basically what they’re all about.

I gotta give him some credit though, because these have been some of my favorite lyrics as of late:

I’ve been through this before, I just don’t remember when

But when you put your hands on mine, oh I’m sixteen again

I also recently came across a girl on OkCupid who is really into puppets and my whole world is crashing down because I realized Grath was right about something. Pop punk songs about online dating = our future.

Choice tracks:

  • Who Let the Dogs Out?
  • A Song in Which I Convince Myself to Stop Being Such a Fucking Idiot
  • Quivering
  • Real Life As a Metaphor for Real Life
  • Barkmarket Fuckacy
Masked Intruder “Masked Intruder” 2012
I’ve been thinking a lot of this album. Let me give you the run-down on Masked Intruder first. They’ve got a shtick, if you couldn’t tell from their album cover, and that shtick is that they sing about stalking/harassing girls who they have a crush on and possibly getting thrown in jail for it. But before you storm them down with your torches and pitchforks, hear me out.
I was drawn to this band (like many other pop punk bands) by their catchy music and lyrics. They’ve got the whole doowop-inspired pop punk formula down. And their little gimmick they’ve got, albeit problematic, actually rounds them out to a perfect 10 as far as pop punk bands go. Because in addition to those singable songs that get stuck in your head, who doesn’t like consistency?
To be honest, I’m not super familiar with most of their work, (edit: just learned this was actually their first full-length which followed a 7” that was released earlier this year) but I’ve been listening to this latest self-titled album a lot lately. I feel that the best way to unpack it is to go song by song.
"25 to Life" was the first song I heard, so you could understand why I was hooked. It kind of disproves the whole "ball and chain" relationship trope, but plays it up to still keep the whole male-fronted pop punk "trying to get the girl" charade. It’s cute and obviously I blushed when my s.o. put it on a mix for me. But still, this theme of "getting locked up" and being "sentenced" kind of sets you up for the rest of the album in an innocent way.

Some people say that love is a prison
You’re locked up whenever youre in it, well I dont buy it
I wouldn’t hate being locked away
to spend waking up next to you every day
No, I wouldn’t mind it

"How Do I Get to You" comes up next and immediately brings up the prospect of using a weapon to get close to/coerce a woman.

You just can’t charm a lady with a knife
And that sucks, ‘cause it’s all I know how to do

It’s really sneakily slipped in there between lots of lines rhyming “true” with “you.” The other questionable verse later in the song talks about sending letters from jail (presumably for sexual harassment) to a girl who was never really interested in the first place. Do you know how much I was rooting for this song? At first I thought, okay, maybe it’s just like listening to a Steinways song: you’re kind of pissed and put off but how much damage can Grath Madden really cause?
"I Don’t Want to Be Alone Tonight" gave me that same Grath vibe, of course, up until this:

When you think tha you’re all alone, and you’re feeling blue
Just take a look out your back door, I’m here for you!

Now this can be easily passed off as a vague (yet still creepy) hopeless romantic line reminiscent of Dion and the Belmonts. And when “Unrequited Love” come up, you start hearing that doo-wop influence a lot more. I have to commend them for making it through an entire 2-minute, 59-second song without alluding to giving a girl unwanted attention (though, they do mention wearing a mask, which just makes me laugh because this running theme is starting to be kind of hilarious to me). Instead, it’s a lament of self pity and having it lined up with all these other songs just makes me imagine it as the anthem for the mouth-breathing, fedora-wearing Redditors wondering why girls keep friend-zoning them.
"Breakin’" kind of speaks for itself:

I’m breaking in, ‘cause you broke my heart
and I’m all broke up since we broke apart

Obviously being upset and heartbroken does not justify breaking into a girl’s house, and I start to wonder if this whole “joke” is obvious enough for the rest of the pop punk population (mostly straight dudes) to get that it’s a “joke.”
"Heart Shaped Guitar" is the seventh track on this album, and it’s the first song I encounter that really goes over the top with this whole creepy stalker theme. This is the chorus:

…That’s why I’m standing here at 3am out on your front yard
Singing you a love song on a heart-shaped guitar
And i hope you hear me and i hope that you care
And you put on a smile and you come downstairs

…which, later in the song, is changed and sung by a woman:

Why are you stanidng there at 3am out on the front yard
Singing stupid love songs on a heart-shaped guitar
And I don’t wanna hear it ‘cause I don’t really care
And the police are on the way so just stay right there

It’s at this point that I really see what they’re parodying, and the lyrics actually make me picture the music video for The Starting Line’s “Best of Me." This song is straight up hilarious, and my favorite part is the harmonization of the hopeless romantic lyrics over a girl saying things like "I don’t even know you," and "I’m calling the cops." It’s at this point in the album that I can stop holding my breath and actually laugh at how silly it is. I just wish I didn’t have to take them seven songs to get there.
"Am I Only Dreaming" brings back the whole "standing outside your window" love song narrative. I’d give this song a free pass. It would probably have gotten away with getting recorded in the 60’s with back up female singers (they even have the "shoowop-doowops" in it!). (PS: pop punk needs more "shoowop-doowops").
"Stick ‘Em Up" left me scratching my head at first. What is with the gang vocals, amiright? Who you trying to yell at and threaten with this knife? Then I gave it a closer listen. The story of this song goes as follows: He has a knife (pretty clear about it) and finds a woman in an alley and mugs her, then goes on a "shopping spree" with the money he stole from her. Without really listening to the words, it just sounds like a real "tough guy" pop punk song with hard riffs and aggressive singing. But when listen to the words that aren’t the constant "I’VE GOT A KNIFE MOTHER FUCKER STICK ‘EM UP" chants, you find some really charged, disturbing, triggering lines:

"…Here in the alley it’s just you and me…"
"…Don’t try to send nobody after me, I got your address off of your ID, and don’t forget it"

Besides the threatening message it sends to women, I do not see at all how this song fits on this album, or on any album for that matter. If this song were listened to on its own, I wouldn’t blame the listener for having a fit. It’s truly unacceptable and I see no comedic value in it whatsoever, if that’s what they were trying to invoke.
After that big hiccup in the middle of the album, the last four tracks give you a more light-hearted experience and brings you back to things you can actually laugh at as a woman listening to it.
"Why Don’t You Love Me in Real Life" made me laugh just reading the title of the song, because it just reminds me of being on the Internet and crushing on people from behind a computer screen (kind of speaks volumes for my generation). But ah, it’s not about the Internet. At first it sounds like a guy who can only seem to have this girls in his dreams, but then kind of takes a should-have-been-expected turn…

Every night in my sweets dreams I get to hold you in my arms
I tried to get something real out of it honey, but I just set off your burglar alarm
Why are you calling the cops baby, I don’t mean you any harm
Why don’t you love me in real life?

This kind of brings us back to the point I made with “Heart-Shaped Guitar,” in which the content of the song is actually comical. It doesn’t compete with the corniness and bluntness of “Heart-Shaped Guitar,” but it’s close. At least, I thought so, until the lyric “Is it because of my laugh or just because I’m brandishing a knife?” Because of course, there weren’t enough mentions of his knife enough on this album already.
"Hello Beautiful" just rehashes the other narratives told in the album, including showing up in her house uninvited. At this I’m yawning, especially over the line "Hello beautiful, won’t you tell me where you’ve been all my life" which is repeated for most of the song, and is a line that reminds me far too much of unwanted comments from strange men on the street. However, at the end of the song there is a soundbite of what’s supposed to be a 911 call of a girl reporting these "masked intruders" in her house, saying that they’re "fucking annoying," they aren’t damaging anything, "they’re just singing." This gives me another sigh of relief and I’m able to laugh once again. I just wish more of the songs were like this/had something like this added to it to remind us why we’re playing along with the whole masked intruder gimmick.
"I Wish You Were Mine" is my favorite song on the album next to "25 to Life" and if you know me you’d probably understand why. This is the track where we see the most old school do-wop influence, which I LOVE in pop punk. Give me "woah-ohs" paired with "doo doo-doos" and I’ll be sold. Also, there’s no mention of breaking and entering, violence, OR stalking in this one! A+.
There couldn’t have been a more appropriate closing song for this album than “Crazy.” Despite the title you finally feel like you’re listening to a sane dude.

"I don’t want to admit it, but I’m crazy for you
and I know that I won’t be acquitted, but I’m crazy for you…”
"…I made some bad decisions, because I’m crazy for you
And now they’re gunna throw me in prison, ‘cause I’m crazy for you…”

They see the error in their ways, and the sense of self-awareness they pepper throughout the album and in this song in particular is what keeps me listening. They know these actions are shitty and low, but anything for love, right?

Masked Intruder “Masked Intruder” 2012

I’ve been thinking a lot of this album. Let me give you the run-down on Masked Intruder first. They’ve got a shtick, if you couldn’t tell from their album cover, and that shtick is that they sing about stalking/harassing girls who they have a crush on and possibly getting thrown in jail for it. But before you storm them down with your torches and pitchforks, hear me out.

I was drawn to this band (like many other pop punk bands) by their catchy music and lyrics. They’ve got the whole doowop-inspired pop punk formula down. And their little gimmick they’ve got, albeit problematic, actually rounds them out to a perfect 10 as far as pop punk bands go. Because in addition to those singable songs that get stuck in your head, who doesn’t like consistency?

To be honest, I’m not super familiar with most of their work, (edit: just learned this was actually their first full-length which followed a 7” that was released earlier this year) but I’ve been listening to this latest self-titled album a lot lately. I feel that the best way to unpack it is to go song by song.

"25 to Life" was the first song I heard, so you could understand why I was hooked. It kind of disproves the whole "ball and chain" relationship trope, but plays it up to still keep the whole male-fronted pop punk "trying to get the girl" charade. It’s cute and obviously I blushed when my s.o. put it on a mix for me. But still, this theme of "getting locked up" and being "sentenced" kind of sets you up for the rest of the album in an innocent way.

Some people say that love is a prison

You’re locked up whenever youre in it, well I dont buy it

I wouldn’t hate being locked away

to spend waking up next to you every day

No, I wouldn’t mind it

"How Do I Get to You" comes up next and immediately brings up the prospect of using a weapon to get close to/coerce a woman.

You just can’t charm a lady with a knife

And that sucks, ‘cause it’s all I know how to do

It’s really sneakily slipped in there between lots of lines rhyming “true” with “you.” The other questionable verse later in the song talks about sending letters from jail (presumably for sexual harassment) to a girl who was never really interested in the first place. Do you know how much I was rooting for this song? At first I thought, okay, maybe it’s just like listening to a Steinways song: you’re kind of pissed and put off but how much damage can Grath Madden really cause?

"I Don’t Want to Be Alone Tonight" gave me that same Grath vibe, of course, up until this:

When you think tha you’re all alone, and you’re feeling blue

Just take a look out your back door, I’m here for you!

Now this can be easily passed off as a vague (yet still creepy) hopeless romantic line reminiscent of Dion and the Belmonts. And when “Unrequited Love” come up, you start hearing that doo-wop influence a lot more. I have to commend them for making it through an entire 2-minute, 59-second song without alluding to giving a girl unwanted attention (though, they do mention wearing a mask, which just makes me laugh because this running theme is starting to be kind of hilarious to me). Instead, it’s a lament of self pity and having it lined up with all these other songs just makes me imagine it as the anthem for the mouth-breathing, fedora-wearing Redditors wondering why girls keep friend-zoning them.

"Breakin’" kind of speaks for itself:

I’m breaking in, ‘cause you broke my heart

and I’m all broke up since we broke apart

Obviously being upset and heartbroken does not justify breaking into a girl’s house, and I start to wonder if this whole “joke” is obvious enough for the rest of the pop punk population (mostly straight dudes) to get that it’s a “joke.”

"Heart Shaped Guitar" is the seventh track on this album, and it’s the first song I encounter that really goes over the top with this whole creepy stalker theme. This is the chorus:

…That’s why I’m standing here at 3am out on your front yard

Singing you a love song on a heart-shaped guitar

And i hope you hear me and i hope that you care

And you put on a smile and you come downstairs

…which, later in the song, is changed and sung by a woman:

Why are you stanidng there at 3am out on the front yard

Singing stupid love songs on a heart-shaped guitar

And I don’t wanna hear it ‘cause I don’t really care

And the police are on the way so just stay right there

It’s at this point that I really see what they’re parodying, and the lyrics actually make me picture the music video for The Starting Line’s “Best of Me." This song is straight up hilarious, and my favorite part is the harmonization of the hopeless romantic lyrics over a girl saying things like "I don’t even know you," and "I’m calling the cops." It’s at this point in the album that I can stop holding my breath and actually laugh at how silly it is. I just wish I didn’t have to take them seven songs to get there.

"Am I Only Dreaming" brings back the whole "standing outside your window" love song narrative. I’d give this song a free pass. It would probably have gotten away with getting recorded in the 60’s with back up female singers (they even have the "shoowop-doowops" in it!). (PS: pop punk needs more "shoowop-doowops").

"Stick ‘Em Up" left me scratching my head at first. What is with the gang vocals, amiright? Who you trying to yell at and threaten with this knife? Then I gave it a closer listen. The story of this song goes as follows: He has a knife (pretty clear about it) and finds a woman in an alley and mugs her, then goes on a "shopping spree" with the money he stole from her. Without really listening to the words, it just sounds like a real "tough guy" pop punk song with hard riffs and aggressive singing. But when listen to the words that aren’t the constant "I’VE GOT A KNIFE MOTHER FUCKER STICK ‘EM UP" chants, you find some really charged, disturbing, triggering lines:

"…Here in the alley it’s just you and me…"

"…Don’t try to send nobody after me, I got your address off of your ID, and don’t forget it"

Besides the threatening message it sends to women, I do not see at all how this song fits on this album, or on any album for that matter. If this song were listened to on its own, I wouldn’t blame the listener for having a fit. It’s truly unacceptable and I see no comedic value in it whatsoever, if that’s what they were trying to invoke.

After that big hiccup in the middle of the album, the last four tracks give you a more light-hearted experience and brings you back to things you can actually laugh at as a woman listening to it.

"Why Don’t You Love Me in Real Life" made me laugh just reading the title of the song, because it just reminds me of being on the Internet and crushing on people from behind a computer screen (kind of speaks volumes for my generation). But ah, it’s not about the Internet. At first it sounds like a guy who can only seem to have this girls in his dreams, but then kind of takes a should-have-been-expected turn…

Every night in my sweets dreams I get to hold you in my arms

I tried to get something real out of it honey, but I just set off your burglar alarm

Why are you calling the cops baby, I don’t mean you any harm

Why don’t you love me in real life?

This kind of brings us back to the point I made with “Heart-Shaped Guitar,” in which the content of the song is actually comical. It doesn’t compete with the corniness and bluntness of “Heart-Shaped Guitar,” but it’s close. At least, I thought so, until the lyric “Is it because of my laugh or just because I’m brandishing a knife?” Because of course, there weren’t enough mentions of his knife enough on this album already.

"Hello Beautiful" just rehashes the other narratives told in the album, including showing up in her house uninvited. At this I’m yawning, especially over the line "Hello beautiful, won’t you tell me where you’ve been all my life" which is repeated for most of the song, and is a line that reminds me far too much of unwanted comments from strange men on the street. However, at the end of the song there is a soundbite of what’s supposed to be a 911 call of a girl reporting these "masked intruders" in her house, saying that they’re "fucking annoying," they aren’t damaging anything, "they’re just singing." This gives me another sigh of relief and I’m able to laugh once again. I just wish more of the songs were like this/had something like this added to it to remind us why we’re playing along with the whole masked intruder gimmick.

"I Wish You Were Mine" is my favorite song on the album next to "25 to Life" and if you know me you’d probably understand why. This is the track where we see the most old school do-wop influence, which I LOVE in pop punk. Give me "woah-ohs" paired with "doo doo-doos" and I’ll be sold. Also, there’s no mention of breaking and entering, violence, OR stalking in this one! A+.

There couldn’t have been a more appropriate closing song for this album than “Crazy.” Despite the title you finally feel like you’re listening to a sane dude.

"I don’t want to admit it, but I’m crazy for you

and I know that I won’t be acquitted, but I’m crazy for you…”

"…I made some bad decisions, because I’m crazy for you

And now they’re gunna throw me in prison, ‘cause I’m crazy for you…”

They see the error in their ways, and the sense of self-awareness they pepper throughout the album and in this song in particular is what keeps me listening. They know these actions are shitty and low, but anything for love, right?