Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Ataris-So Long Astoria

I have had so many ups and downs with pop punk over the years that I can't think of a clever way to finish this sentence. First I had the, "No way, I only like real punk!" phase. That was followed by the, "Hey, some of this isn't half bad" phase. Then came the, "I love all of it!" phase. Up next was the, "Hey, all these lead singers sound exactly the same" phase. That brought us back to the, "Screw this, I only like real punk!" phase. Rinse and repeat. Only the wisdom that comes with having three full decades of life experience helped me to realize that I shouldn't worry so much about it. Most of the cycle above was based on how other people perceived me in regard to my taste for pop punk. The times when I liked it were usually the result of an attempt to connect with a girl I liked who was all about pop punk. Anyway, here's the valuable lesson that Stephen R. Covey was saving for his next book: don't ever be ashamed of your musical tastes. It's a waste of time and the people you're trying to impress will probably never notice. If they do notice it's just a sign that they haven't learned this important lesson and are repressing their love for The Carpenters. I freaking love The Carpenters and I'm not ashamed to say it.

So this brings us to The Ataris. They are the quintessential pop punk band. Not only do they have the exact same sound as every other band in the genre (I mean that insult in the best possible way), they have a retro name and sing songs about Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure and the Konami Code. So Long Astoria is a fantastic pop punk album. From top to bottom it is a pure pop punk experience. I love that they cover "Boys of Summer" and substitute "deadhead sticker" for "Black Flag sticker." I love that they wrote an overly melodramatic song in response to a letter from a fan dying of cancer (I laugh inside when I hear this song, but I also totally rock out to it as well. It gives me complex emotions). If I ever had to explain pop punk to anyone with a single album, this would be it. My copy of this album is autographed and I am proud of that I admit that I wasted a few years with this album in the back of my collection collecting dust. Then the passage of time dropped some wisdom in my lap and here we are. This album is gooey melodramatic goodness. I love every sappy word and over-the-top chord.

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