During a conversation among close friends at Applebee’s, we shared our favorite albums with each other. This gave me the idea of this new segment of the blog: Albums That I Love. And what’s better to start this off other than my favorite album, The Get Up Kids’ “Something to Write Home About.”
I hold this album close to my heart for a few reasons. One, because this is an album that I can listen to from start to finish without any desire to skip a track. Another reason, and more importantly, there’s a sentimental value I have for this album. I can’t tell you how I was introduced to The Get Up Kids… I can’t even tell you what the first song I heard was… but I can tell you that this album was in my CD-player throughout my entire high school experience.
That’s what the emo genre was all about, right? High school was a time with a wide variety of emotions packed into life’s fast-lane of four years. The Get Up Kids were one of the first bands where I could really relate to the songs they were singing about. This was important to me because prior to listening to The Get Up Kids, I rocked out to Limp Bizkit and KoRn in the 8th grade. I enjoyed those bands but it just wasn’t the same. I found it hard to relate to albums like “Significant Other” and “Follow the Leader.”
“Something to Write Home About” is definitely an emo album and The Get Up Kids are an emo band. Stop cringing. TGUK is the good type of emo, not the kind that involves fashion over music. The kind where front-man Matthew Pryor and guitarist/vocalist Jim Suptic sing with their hearts on their sleeve and where the plain truth speaks volumes over abstract poems.
The whole album deals with the theme suggested in the album title, keeping up with friendships and relationships through the conflict of distance.
My favorite track off the album is “Action & Action.” The song explores Pryor’s distaste towards someone but then it slightly changes directions to expressing how he learned from his errors, which in turn made him a stronger person. The chorus contains a brilliant line with a lot a depth, “Every mistake that I made, I couldn’t have made without you.” On the surface it seems that Pryor is blaming someone for the mistakes he made in the past, but it could also mean how he’s thankful to that person for the errors he made with him/her because now he knows better. This is a very powerful and heart-felt song.
The explosive opening track “Holiday” addresses how Pryor foresees his relationship failing because of how far apart they are from each other, but he doesn’t blame the distance entirely. “Maybe I can see you on holidays / You’re worlds away / I’ve never forgotten all our yesterdays.” I let out a deep sigh every time I hear these lyrics. You can really sense Pryor’s pain at his situation and his attempt to keep his sinking relationship afloat.
During the soft, mellow track “Valentine” Pryor spills his heart with lyrics like “Will you be my valentine if I’m a world away?” and “The constants aren’t so constant anymore.” Whether these songs are about one or more person is for us to ponder, but it’s hard for to me imagine that they’re not linked.
The Get Up Kids also has one of the saddest tracks I’ve ever heard on this album, “Out of Reach.” Pryor sings his sadness through words like “I’ve got pictures to prove I was there, but you don’t care.” It seems the distance has caught up with the couple and even though Pryor is looking to try again and start over, the relationship is done. This was probably every high school kid’s breakup song in 2000 (only if you were blessed enough to have known about TGUK).
The album picks up after the somberness with “Ten Minutes.” Jim Suptic takes the lead vocals in this song while Pryor settles for backup and James DeWees wails on the synthesizer. The energy from this song overpowers the lighter tone compared to the previous few. Suptic gives his honest opinion about a shaky relationship that relies on needing someone when they’re not there.
The track “I’m a Loner Dottie, A Rebel…” is another lively, crowd-favorite from The Get Up Kids. But the real kicker is the album’s final song, the piano-ballad “I’ll Catch You.” The Get Up Kids are great at concluding their albums with memorable songs, but nothing tops “I’ll Catch You.” For once, the lyrics take a backseat to the beautiful music performed by the band. That doesn’t stop them from ending the song with the sweetest lyrics to make girls tremble, “Don’t worry I’ll catch you. Don’t ever worry. No need for reminding. You’re still all that matters to me.”
I feel the main attraction about “Something to Write Home About” is its consistency with the subject matter and the way everyone can relate to it. Listening to the entire album from start to finish is like embarking on a romantic journey that is full of passion, heart-break, and hope. There aren’t many bands who simply tell it like it is and that’s why this album is such a gem. This isn’t The Get Up Kids’ only good album, but it sure is their best.