I’ve recently decided that The Get Up Kids are one of my favorite bands of all time. In fact, if I were pressed to do so, I’d name them in the top 3. I’m not sure exactly who’d be #1. Worse case scenario, GUK and The Replacements go head-to-head in a steel cage match for my affection. One fall. No outside interference from Macho Man Randy Savage.
I’ve made a few attempts in the past to write about music from an intellectual point of view. I’ve found, every time, that I really can’t do it. That’s not to put down my talent, it’s just not in my DNA. It’d be like if I forced you to watch the entire IMdb resume of Zach Braff. You’d enjoy it, but the same way a parent enjoys the work of his marginally talented child. Anyway, since realizing this weak point about my writing (and my self-important taste), I’m finally ready to admit that my enjoyment of music (and other “smoking jacket-related arts” stuff) comes down to a “Yes.” to two very easy questions:
1) Does it have a good beat?
2) Do I want to listen to it again?
That’s about it.
I know this criteria looks a bit elementary on paper. It is. I make no apologies for it.
I’m not a musician, or even a semi-qualified critic. I can’t read music. I can’t play music. If I ever do succeed in my secret dream of forming a Midwestern post-punk indie band with me singing, I had better start shelling out for voice lessons. I’m not interested anymore in telling you why you should think Radiohead’s Kid A is brilliant, I just think “Motion Picture Soundtrack” sounds really pretty. That’s how I can call The Get Up Kids one of my favorite bands and end it there. Pop sensibility. Memorable lyrics. Rocking sound.
None of this occurred to me until I was stuck in my apartment last week, doing work, and listening to my old emo mixtapes. The majority of the stuff on those tapes is complete garbage – a result of multiple bands trying to sound like one another and the consumer emo savvy of the past decade. The Get Ups, thankfully, fall outside of most that; actually, I’ll dare to say The Get Ups and their New Jersey counterparts, Saves The Day. I personally think GUK is my generation’s version of The ‘Mats, but that is just me. I’m making an argument for my favorite band based on the rationale of “They’re awesome, because they are.” Sure, maybe all of this sounds trivial and facetious. But, I’ve also realized that we – as human beings – tend to make big deals out of nothing. Music. Movies. Relationships. Sports teams. I just feel as if we make stuff way more complicated than it has to be. In an age that cares so much about everybody else’s opinion, why can I love something just because? Of course, the real irony is that this entry’s impetus is my love for an emo band. Emo, a genre of music that has thrived on making teen heartbreak sound way more complicated than it is in reality.
Maybe it’s maturity, but I just dig simplicity these days. I like liking The Get Up Kids. As a teacher of mine once told me, everything has a story; nothing just happens. So, by that principle, even the reason of “Just because…” has something tangible to it. I mean, you always say “Just because…” because that euphemism tends to hide a deeper meaning that you want to share later on, when the time is right. I like the Get Up Kids just because. I don’t care what the blogs say; or what girl wants to sleep with me if I quote Serge Gainsbourg. Right now, I just want to rock out. And, nobody in a cardigan can stop me.