This is My Jam: Modern Baseball – “Your Graduation”
by Meridith Carroll on February 5, 2014
Posted in: Music, Pop Punk, Rock
I may be the only person I know who yearns for the early 2000s.
Of course I mean this on a superficial level; I have no desire to revert back to the Bush administration cesspit and I might not be able to deal with living with dial-up Internet, Avril Lavigne, polo shirts, or excessive lip gloss ever again (RIP5th grade). BUT I’ll always feel a little sadness that I couldn’t experience the early-2000s emo/pop punk scene in all of its hook-drenched whiny glory firsthand. So I, more than anyone, am beyond thrilled about the renaissance of dumb, confessional boy rock. First there was Japandroids, and then there we had The Front Bottoms. To like one band like this is an exception and two can be coincidence but once you’re three deep into a genre you start to realize it may be less of a novelty and more of a genuine love. I guess the next logical stop in my journey was always Modern Baseball.
My introduction to music that wasn’t music on the radio or music that my parents listened to was through the music news website AbsolutePunk. I stumbled upon it when I was 13 (c. 2006) but their demographic was predominately older high school students/college age dudes and I’ve never been able to escape their initial influence. Somehow I circled back on myself and started liking whiny pop punk again; I think it must be a form of arrested development- how else could I choose to listen to Modern Baseball over the new Warpaint album? And what about when everyone was freaking out about the Autre Ne Veut album that I missed last year because I was busy listening to The Front Bottoms? I like music that people like making fun of and I know it; I’m a banner waver for top 40 and earnest anything. But I always saw this as the trait that made me an outlier and I kept moving farther away from what was cool- and now the line is starting to blur.
Modern Baseball, a Philly/Maryland 4 piece that released their debut album Sports in 2012, have a pretty heavy following. Now, Pitchfork is debuting a stream of their new album. Pitchfork! The site that gave Jimmy Eat World’s Bleed American a 3.5! The times surely are a –changin’! I thought people who weren’t me were cooler than this, cooler than garage band music with break-up poetry lyrics. But I think I get it- there’s only so much cool you can take. I haven’t read much David Foster Wallace but I’ve read a ton about David Foster Wallace and it seems we’ve reached the sonic equivalent of this “New Sincerity” without its mid-2000s twee trappings. I, for one, could not be happier. Screw Millennial think pieces on hipsters and ironic detachment–Give us more pop punk! Give us real feelings and songs about being drunk on sidewalks and obsessions and telling people to forget even though we hope they never ever ever forget a second of it!
Maybe we don’t want to live in 2002, we just want to be kids again or at least revel in their sincerity via three chords and yelps. Maybe the fact that I want to wear a shiny tube top out and listen to Jimmy Eat World has more to do with wanting to be able to imitate the idealized icons that I had in a time when I didn’t have to worry about anything. In that sense, Modern Baseball serves a certain slice of escape fantasy.Their music can allow me to throw myself into a movement I narrowly missed and have it be real. They’re new album is called “You’re Gonna Miss It” which is a perfect title to punch you in the heart and make you think about cross country car rides with your family or kissing that person on the ear or sunny days in your childhood home or whatever else you will miss because it isn’t 2002 0r 2010 or 2013 and these things don’t exist like that anymore. But, to quote MB themselves, “whatever forever.” Stop wasting your time reading about my never-ending awe over nostalgia and heartfelt rawk and go listen to the new album. I recommend “Your Graduation” specifically.