Killer Cuts:Killer Klassix

…A way to honor how age and youth, though fleeting, marks the beautiful start to the beginning of the end.

Killer Cuts:Killer Klassix

Antonio Llanos, Staff Writer

If you could write a love letter to your hometown, what would you say? What would you highlight? What experiences would you honor in your life that made you happy and solidified the person you are meant to be?

           In the summer of 2003, Chicago pop punk/emo band Spitalfield released their sophomore loveletter to the midwestern city which not only bred them, but solidified who they were going to be as artists for the remainder of their career. The album acts as the perpetually youthful album about youth in and of itself, the (and forgive the Shakespeare reference) Veronian exploration of youth through youth.  Seriously– putting into context the weight of this album not only for the Chicago punk scene at the time but also for early 2000s Chicagoans– this album still means the world to them almost 20 years after its release.  Published and distributed under the Chicago infamous and now defunct, Victory Records, “Remember Right Now” carries weight in the Chicago Punk scene which set the tone for the Chicago sound to come.  The album layout itself visually takes you down the roads and many back-alleys of the city as a way to honor how age and youth, though fleeting, marks the beautiful start to the beginning of the end.

           “Those Days You Felt Alive” kicks the album off immediately, absolutely killing the track and letting the drums carry the rhythmic heartbeat of each song beginning with the first impactful drum fill.  Mark Rose, vocalist and lyricist for the band clearly spearheaded the concept of the album solidifying it in the second verse of the song  “you’ve got me in your hands/I’ll break before I walk/tonight we broke our plans/to play games with our hearts/for your blue skies/for those times you felt alive.”  Rose highlights the atmospheric environments in a cinematic style (with slight autumnal whispers) and strong vibrantly poetic descriptions of youthful recollections, all within the first three minutes of the album. 

           “Kill the Drama” was the first single released from the album in order to generate collective interest on the radio.  What is really interesting about this song is while normally there is a classic rhythmic chugging from pop punk artists, “Remember Right Now” completely abandons the sound together and still slides under the radar using a more alternative melodic approach, all while still incorporating the other parts of the pop punk criteria.  Rose’s lyrical content once again highlights the beauty of Chicago and how the city changes one’s perspective in an instant, though under the guise of a fleeting relationship, “I’m turning around/I’m turning around/I’m turning it out” particularly marking the desperate need for change in order to save a relationship. 

“I Loved The Way She Said L.A.”  Is the second single from the album and was released not too far prior to the actual album release.  Ultimately the lyrics describe how leaving the Midwest (in this case Chicago) causes an internal disconnect wherever one goes.  This is not a tune of harrow and heartbreak, but a celebration that there is a reason to come back, whether it is for love, or something more deep seeded inside someone.  Rose’s chorus rounds out “California’s not so far, When I close my eyes and wonder where you are,” subtly referencing the city of Chicago and his love for everything back here. 

           “Five Days and Counting” is not only my personal favorite next to “Those Days You Felt Alive,”  but really leaves a historical mark for what constitutes the pop punk sound in Chicago.  Lyrically, Rose warns an unsuspecting love interest that her feelings are only being exploited for empty interest.  Rose’s vocals are more whispered, but still melodically impactful as though he, as someone who has done this before, is now witnessing someone go through it.  The song takes place over the course of Five days, the first beginning with the initial rope in enticing his interest (subtly the listener) and then exploding in a melodic hymnal (not divine) of pain “Stay awake / I’m here now don’t say sorry.”  What is particularly remarkable about this song is its musical exploration and lyrical accompaniment.  Essentially Rose repeats the first verse and chorus, but he builds off of these interactions in a way that carries melodies into one another.  Overall there is only one bridge that makes the song worth remembering, because melodically, it is subtly repetitive, but lyrically builds off of everything already stated in the song.  If you want a song to sum up the entity that is this album, just listen to “Five Days and Counting.”

Five Emo Donuts out of Five