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Emo is a dirty word. It’s too general of a music genre that, admitting to listening to, could make you an outcast in an instant. A few really bad mislabeled bands from the mid 2000s make me scared to admit to listening to The Promise Ring or American Football, or even Cap’n Jazz. However, in the past couple years, a few brave and talented bands have reappropriated emo and made it cool again.
Lead vocalist Tanner Jones doesn’t like to call it an “emo revival” however, “One of my friends called it an emo renaissance which I think is a way better term for it,” he says. “Bands catch on to bands and those bands catch onto other bands and its like a pay it forward type of thing , kids react to music they like so that’s what’s getting popular.” Now I am proud to admit that I am, and always have been, an emo kid. I owe a lot of the to the band You Blew It! as well as their contemporaries on Topshelf Records. WERS was lucky enough to have You Blew It! come into the studio for an On the Verge in-studio. And, needless to say things got emotional.
The first song the boys played was “Gray Matter” off of their new album Keep Doing What You’re Doing. Their new record is a significantly more musically sophisticated and ambitious project that their debut Shut Up, Dude. “From our perspective,” says Tanner on the new record “I feel like we took a lot of risks with this one, we were safe and calculated with the first one, we didn’t let ourselves do a lot of things, like I wouldn’t do a palm mute because heat was cool. This is the first record Andy wrote on, and he comes from a different background with, so we started doing things we weren’t comfortable with, but that we liked. As soon as I heard crunchy guitar riffs of “Gray Matter”, shy vocals, and the drummer abusing the Crash, I was hooked. The best part of it all however, was when the chorus came and Jones yelled (not scream, they’re tasteful) emotively into the mic. His yelled had that on-the-verge-of-tears timbre that makes their kind of music so intense and relatable. Jones stood awkwardly close to the mic stand, stiff and uncomfortable, a little clue that his teenage angst and confusion never fully left him.
The band’s next song, “You & Me & Me” started with just some banging on the drum. Soon enough entered some gentle, dare I say, emotional guitar chords that need room to breathe so they wouldn’t have an anxiety attack. The song, unlike “Grey Matter”, was more reminiscent of bands like American Football than The Promise Ring, It had strange, mathematical drum rhythms that were confusing but interesting and exciting, kind of like how I imagine it was to be 16 in 1999. When asked what he would be doing if not playing in You Blew It! Jones said
“I liked to think I’d be a successful human”, which is inadvertently the best emo band name of all time.