Being average isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes it’s the most realistic way to show the world. Bayside’s fourth studio album Shudder is anthem for the average kid. It’s not an album for the kid with the Mohawk who covers himself with safety pins and obscure punk patches, or the kid in the polo shirt and $75 jeans, it’s for the kid who gets his name forgotten by the teacher.
This Long Island based four piece has been on the scene for the past five years, touring relentlessly and constantly tweaking their sound. When they first broke out they were labeled as an Emo band, due to Anthony Raneri’s sensitive screaming voice. Since then they’re fought against this label, putting out more and more rock-centric albums, the most successful being The Walking Wounded, a heavier more melodic take on their earlier sound.
Shudder is a direct continuation of the last album, almost a sequel. It picks up where The Walking Wounded left off sonically and lyrically and begins to doubt the “Yes We Can!” attitude of the last record. In “I and I” on The Walking Wounded, Raneri writes: “We’re taking control of our lives, everything’s alright”. But Shudder has a less optimistic take on how the world works. In “Demons” it’s obvious that problems aren’t as easily solved as it first seemed. The opening of the track is a desperate shout “You can never really win… You were born to take tenth place out of twenty in a field”. As far a reason for this change in perspective, the only explanation offered is that we’re “Getting close enough to know what we’re running from”.
So what about that kid whose name we don’t remember? How does he fit into this situation? He’s both the victim and the villain in this situation. It’s his apathy that means he’ll never win, but with the odds stacked against him, he can hardly be blamed. Don’t look to this album for a solution. They tried that last time, this time they’re just reminding us that nothing is easy.
LORENZO WOLFF is a musician living in New York. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org