Skip to main content

7. Guster - Keep It Together (2003)

I discovered this record thanks to a friend who asked for it for his birthday and then was kind enough to play it for me. Every year I have at least one album and artist that was nowhere on my radar but landed in my path even so. I love that.

If you take a quick look at my top 20 favorite artists list (go ahead, I’ll wait), it is probably pretty easy to figure out what kind of music I like best. I’m a sucker for songs with hooks galore, harmonies abounding, la la, ooh, bah bah background vocals everywhere, and ringing guitars dominating. The Beach Boys, XTC, The Beatles, and The Monkees are all staunch purveyors of this sound. So are Guster.

As someone who loves words and writing I hate to say it, with pop music lyrics don’t matter. They’re really just there to rhyme and sing along with and not be distracting. When pop music really excels, it’s when the lyrics are deep and interesting and clever without taking attention away from the song itself. Guster is a band that knows how to do that.

The best songs on the album are so musically sound that you feel like you can sing along on the first listen. As for the lyrics, they are mostly about moving on, getting over heartache and the past but not necessarily wanting to. The first single, Amsterdam, is textbook power pop, a kiss-off song that makes the line “I’m gonna write you a book” sound like an insult. Come Downstairs And Say Hello comes on languid but blossoms with conviction: “tomorrow I start in a new direction.” Careful addresses a self-destructive friend (or lover) who needs a wake up call. I Hope Tomorrow Is Like Today has the most optimistic title you could ever ask for, yet we find that the narrator doesn’t want tomorrow to be like today because today was so great, but because he’s scared to lose what he has.

In conclusion, if you’ve always been looking for that album that begins with an ode to making out and ends with a children’s choir singing about Noah’s Ark, then look no further!

Rating: A
Fave Song: Careful

Popular posts from this blog

Why Weezer is the Definitive Gen X Band

I’ve been thinkin’ ‘bout my g-g-g-generation.   One of the more fascinating side effects of the ever-intensifying culture wars is the emergence of generational mud-slinging battle between Baby Boomers and Millennials. Social media has played the role of both venue and promoter, and news outlets have done their best to cheer it on. As a member of the cohort that's situated between the two factions - Generation X - and thus removed from the fray, I've regarded this as an amusing sideshow in the never-ending circus of nauseating Internet discourse. The most illuminating part to me is how the conflict, and various reports about it, consistently omits the existence the generation between these two, and how very appropriate that is.   Now I'll start with the disclaimer that I'm well aware that no group of people is homogeneous. Generation X encompasses many different personality types, cultural experiences, economic realities, and a possible 15-year age difference (Gen Xers

20 From 2020

Every year since 2003 (coincidentally, the year I started this blog), I've made a compilation of some of my favorite songs of the year. I love the act of compiling and ordering, finding songs that speak to one another lyrically and that flow together seamlessly.  In order for the mixes to have longevity, I've typically avoided choosing too many songs that lyrically reflect the events of the year. That's gotten harder every year since 2016, and I was initially worried 2020 was going to be the tipping point. This year's mix might have looked a lot different if the presidential election had gone the other way. It would have certainly been more angry and despairing, and would have included such topical songs as Ben Folds's "2020," Ben Gibbard's "Proxima B," and Sloan's "Silence Trumps Lies." All good tunes, but I'm not sure how much I'll want to revisit them. Thankfully, instead, we have a mix with a variety of moods and cov

12 More by Jimmy Eat World

Sometimes an artist just needs 12  more  songs to summarize their career. Case in point... Sometimes your favorite band sneaks up on you. I'd been a Jimmy Eat World fan since the late 1990s, and have never missed one of their albums. But they didn't become my favorite band until a 2013 concert at First Avenue, where I found myself singing along with every single song by heart. It was then that I realized that for every phase of my adult life, Jimmy Eat World has been there to soundtrack it. You'll definitely want to check out the  12 by Jimmy Eat World  list to relive the first part of their career. 1. "Big Casino" (from Chase This Light , 2007) A highly caffeinated tune that contains one of my top ten all-time Jimmy Eat World lyrics: "Well there's lots of smart ideas in books I've never read / When the girls come talk to me I wish to hell I had." 2. "Always Be" (from  Chase This Light , 2007) Chase This Light came out when I was 30 yea