By Devon Hannan, Features Editor
On almost every Tinder date I go on with some emo scrub, we always get to talking about music right off the bat. I go on to explain that folk music has been my favorite genre for years and while I’m not sure if this is some sort of unfortunate coincidence or the fact that I just have really bad taste in men, but nine times out of ten, my date replies, “Whoa, so you must really LOVE The Front Bottoms.”
To be fair, I absolutely love some of folk music’s most pretentious garbage, but in that very second, my eyes sink down into the pit of my stomach and I can feel my lunch start to creep back up my esophagus. The only thing I can mutter is, “Well… Umm… You see, The Front Bottoms aren’t actually a folk band and I definitely kind of hate them.”
I don’t get it. I can’t pinpoint why or when every single Midwestern pop punk kid decided to pick up an acoustic guitar and play it like goddamn banjo. But what I don’t understand even MORE is why this recent wave of folk punks decided to make The Front Bottoms their messiah. I mean, we already have Neutral Milk Hotel, so what is the gosh dang POINT?
At least with Neutral Milk, you get some kind of substance, meaning some really strong and vivid lyricism and power punching horn sequences, but The Front Bottoms literally have nothing to offer except half-assed teenage angst. Brian Sella’s voice is almost impossible to endure and it gets to the point where I would compare it to some 15-year-old boy yelling at his parents for hiding his cigarettes in their sock drawer. The entire time I spent listening to Talon of the Hawk, I couldn’t stop thinking, “Can you please stop shouting?”
With that being said, every song sounds the same. And to make things even worse, they are usually about the same thing; Boy meets girl and girl screws him over in some way, shape or form, thus making him really sad. These guys feed off of the nostalgic high school relationships and hangovers that I would much rather forget about.
Pair some of the most awkward and rigid guitar plucking in history with some really cliché metaphors about poison and bruised knuckles, and congratulations, you’ve got a Front Bottoms song. There are so many other bands with a similar sound that do it infinitely better. For example, if you’re ever looking for that same seemingly fun, upbeat mall emo with a that signature “touch of twang,” check out Nana Grizol instead. They’re the band I WISH would take The Front Bottoms place, as they are so much more elevated in every aspect of songwriting, instrumentation, and emotion.
There comes a time when we all grow up and I think the main reason I hate The Front Bottoms so much comes with the realization that the problems I thought seemed so big yesterday are minuscule compared to those of today. This is a vicious cycle and as music consumers, we are constantly exposed to new and more eye-opening ideas. Back in the day, I thought the world revolved around me and my problems, but since then, I have discovered that there is so much more. At this point, The Front Bottoms bore me more than anything and give me a sense of naive immaturity – but who knows – one day I’ll probably outgrow Fleet Foxes too.