From Fall Out Boy to Weezer, pop punk dominated a large chunk of my youth and leaves me with the bitter taste of nostalgia and heartbreak in its wake. Like most genres, it had its highs and lows throughout the early twenty-first century, striking the hearts and minds of teenagers and sad college students across the world all at once. Those days, it seems, are long gone.
Until now, anyway.
Formed in 2008, Joyce Manor is a lovable four-piece California group that’s bringing the old days back. After heavy success with their last album, Cody, Joyce Manor released their fifth studio album, Million Dollars to Kill Me, earlier this week. Both nubile and millennial, the ten track masterpiece is a strong mixture of melancholy and maturity and is ripe with a variety of jams sure to speak to the fourteen-year-old in all of us.
With the reveal of the beautiful music video of their catchiest song, “Silly Games,” fans of their work are already hyped about what’s to come this year.
The new album, mixed by none other than the artful Andrew Scheps, is loaded with a diversity of epic songs from all walks of pop punk. There are the wistful ballads, like “Gone Tomorrow,” concise but heartbreaking. There are the tough, emo-ridden choruses and solid guitar lines, like “Fighting Kangaroo.” There’s the bouncy, upbeat yet oddly desolate “Silly Games,” reminiscent of Britpop tunes. Then there’s the frontman Barry Johnson’s favorite track, “Wildflowers,” notable mainly for its simplicity and straightforwardness.
And of course, infinitely, a blue summer mood that stretches on forever as their songs play on through.
Joyce Manor’s short but sweet tracks are as groovy as they are delicate, and are a highly refreshing listen after a musical hiatus from the stereotypically emo bands of old. From break-ups to financial pitfalls to the perpetual existential crisis of early adulthood, the lyrics are solid and well-written. Most of all, they’re relatable in the most human way possible.
I’m blessed to have found myself a new obsession this fall. Frank and tender all at once, Joyce Manor will give you quite a trip back to 2005, but for the better.