Monday, March 26, 2012

10 Years of Tell All Your Friends

10 years ago today I was in the 6th grade sitting in a middle school that was built (literally) on top of a swamp. All the kids from the mean streets of East Providence, Rhode Island were pretending to be gangsters and shit and were listening to Chingy, J-Kwon, Eminem, and other rappers talk about things that no one in the 6th grade could really relate to. Remember 50 cent and how badass he was getting shot 72 times? Totally relatable to 6th graders at Martin Middle School. I remember terrible styles back then, such as velour track suits, Air Force Ones, and ugly throwback basketball jerseys being the norm, but most importantly, I remember awful music. It wasn’t that I hated rap per se, but it just didn’t really appeal to me. Not my cup of tea if you will. At this point I was listening mostly to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bush, Nirvana and Blink-182, rebelling against the majority of my classmates. Little did I know that on this day, the album that would mean the most to me came out, and that was Taking Back Sunday’s ‘Tell All Your Friends’.

I was actually somewhat late to the TAYF crowd. I discovered it towards the end of the 8th grade, so it was probably the spring of 2004. As much as MySpace was lame, it did help me discover Taking Back Sunday, so for that I’m thankful that my 13 year old self was creeping on whoever the girl’s MySpace was that I found the video for Cute Without the ‘e’ (Cut From The Team). Obviously, the Fight Club-inspired video for it was awesome to make me watch it again and again, but the song was what really captivated me. To this day, I really can’t pinpoint what it is about that song that made it the most played song on my itunes account (by far), but it just hit home from the first moment I heard it. Soon after this I went to Best Buy and got the whole cd with a 20$ bill that my grandpa gave me for no apparent reason. It was at this time that normally I would just play one song on repeat and not give any other song on the cd a chance, but I was so intrigued that I sat down and just listened to the whole thing nonstop, from ‘You Know How I Do’ through ‘Head Club’. Then I listened to it again. And again. And again. Right away I knew that this was my favorite cd.

When I got to high school, I met some other friends who also liked Taking Back Sunday, so that helped me out with being able to discuss it with people who actually liked good music. At this point I was obsessed and finally saw them live in concert in Mansfield with Angels & Airwaves with my dear friends Andrew Chace and Chris Rizzini. By this point, only Adam, Eddie and Mark were still in the band from TAYF, but it was still an awesome show. Since then, I’ve seen TBS live in the Boston/Providence area three more times, have caught two guitar picks, two set lists and have lost my voice 3 times with some of my closest friends who later got hooked onto them too. I will say, for a band who has gone through many changes over the past 10 years (Fred was decent, Rubano was a dwarf, and Fazzi was just eh), they always put on a great show and never half-assed it. Fast forward to 2010, and it was announced that John Nolan and Shaun Cooper, from the TAYF years, who left in 2003 were coming back to Taking Back Sunday. I didn’t think it was possible to feel so much joy for a band getting back together. Taking Back Sunday never sucked, I like all their albums, but TAYF was the best one in my eyes. Having Nolan and Cooper back in the mix just made things seem back to normal, even if they had released 3 albums over 7 years without them. Just having the duo of Nolan and Adam Lazzara back together was exciting enough, but also having Cooper back instead of that twerp Matt Rubano was awesome as well. It seemed that at one time the notion of having the 5 guys back together was impossible, as there were all these rumors online and such about why Nolan and Cooper left, and also that whole feud with Jesse Lacey and Brand New that served up material for TAYF and Brand New’s ‘Your Favourite Weapon’. On a side note, just assuming the gist of online rumors, I wonder how the girl that started this whole feud feels right now. I mean this girl essentially made Jesse Lacey leave TBS to form Brand New, and then provides us with 3-4 albums (from the two bands combined) that deal with this situation. She must’ve been gorgeous or something. Now that I’m off topic, it was a joyous occasion to find out one day that Nolan and Cooper were back.
I still listen to songs from TAYF pretty much every day. It just never gets old for me, and it is the same for the majority of my friends. I feel like a lot of people write them off and don’t give TBS a chance because some consider them ‘emo’, but that’s like judging a book by its cover. If you like it, you like it. If you hate it, you hate it, and that’s alright, but from the majority of people I know who gave this album a chance, more people loved it than hated it. From the beauty of ‘Great Romances of the 20th Century’ to the intensity of ‘Timberwolves At New Jersey’ to the anger of ‘There’s No ‘I’ in Team’, there is something for everyone on this album. This album just has so much to offer, and it hits home to my generation who were teens when this came out. Heartbreak, angst, revenge, backstabbing, it’s like a soundtrack for high school kids who need something to relate to.
I’ll be graduating college this upcoming May, and understandably I’ve been getting a bit sentimental. I have no idea where I’ll be a year from now, and that does scare the absolute shit out of me. I’ve been looking back on my younger years and trying to think of random things that always made me happy, so needless to say that when I realized from all the tweets this morning that Tell All Your Friends came out 10 years ago today, I felt both old and amazed that all this
time has passed, yet I still love that album more than any other I have come across. So thank you Adam, John, Shaun, Eddie and Mark for making an album that changed the lives of many kids like me who needed an album filled with some angst, some anger, and amazing music. You really don’t know the impact you’ve had on my life, and I know that I’m not the only person to feel this way. Happy 10 years to Tell All Your Friends.
Hoping for the best, just hoping never happens-