Tag Archives: the world is a beautiful place and I am no longer afraid to die

March Sadness Playlist

by Vasilis

March is a good month to be sad: We lose an hour of sleep to Daylight Savings (though we do gain an hour of daylight), the weather is still wintery, and it’s a never-ending 31-day month with no holidays to give us time off. So in honor of March Sadness (full disclosure: this is not an original idea) I put together a playlist of some classic emo bands.

Emo has been going through what many are calling a “revival” over the past couple years; bands like Into It. Over It., Tigers Jaw, Balance & Composure, Dads, Modern Baseball, The World Is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, and many more have led the “emo revival” charge. Those who love emo claim the genre never died. Regardless, the takeaway is that emo (past and present) has provided us with some honest, heartfelt music to scream at the top of our lungs and get us through the sad times.

This playlist is split into two, starting off with the revival and progressing to the classics like The Get Up Kids, Braid, Jimmy Eat World, American Football, Texas is the Reason. Enjoy the sadness everyone!

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Top Albums of 2013 (as chosen by Vas)

Band – Album – “Favorite Song”

  1. The Wonder Years – The Greatest Generation – “I Just Want to Sell Out My Funeral”

  2. Streetlight Manifesto – The Hands That Thieve – “Your Day Will Come”

  3. Balance & Composure – The Things We Think We’re Missing – “Keepsake”

  4. Frank Turner – Tape Deck Heart – “Plain Sailing Weather”

  5. Kevin Devine – Bulldozer/Bubblegum – “Redbird”

  6. Into It. Over It. – Intersections – “Contractual Obligation”

  7. The Front Bottoms – Talon of the Hawk – “Backflip”

  8. Arctic Monkeys – AM – “R U Mine?”

  9. Citizen – Youth – “Roam the Room”

  10. The World is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die – Whenever, If Ever – “Getting Sodas”

  11. Fall Out Boy – Save Rock and Roll – “Save Rock and Roll”

  12. Saves the Day – Saves the Day – “Ain’t No Kind of Love”

  13. The Swellers – Light Under Closed Doors – “Got Social”

  14. Mixtapes – Ordinary Silence – “Elevator Days”

  15. Sainthood Reps – Headswell – “Headswell”

  16. Allison Weiss – Say What You Mean – “One Way Love”

  17. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City – “Unbelievers”

  18. Have Mercy – The Earth Pushed Back – “This Old Ark”

  19. Polar Bear Club – Death Chorus – “WLWYCD”

  20. Paramore – Paramore – “Anklebiters”

2013 Top 5 EPs:

  1. Vinnie Caruana – City By The Sea

  2. Pentimento – Inside the Sea

  3. Their / They’re / There – Their / They’re / There

  4. Misser – Distancing

  5. Why Bother? – This Isn’t Very Good

 

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Whenever, If Ever Review

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by Vasilis, contributing writer

Imagine a peaceful lake on a serene summer afternoon: The birds are chirping, the bees are buzzing, the ducks are swimming, the flowers are blooming, creating a picture perfect image. All of a sudden, a giant rock comes crashing into the lake, throwing everything off and disturbing the picturesque nature. That is the effect Whenever, If Ever, the debut album from emo revival band The World Is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid To Die (who I will now refer to as The World Is) has on its audience. It’s a blaring attack on our senses, with quiet atmospheric intros escalating into loud, cathartic chorusesthat create a lasting impression in the listener’s mind, be it on first listen or days later. The sound is reminiscent of emo legends like American Football and Cap’ N Jazz yet still feels fresh and new.

Seeing The World Is perform live is one of the strangest setups you will ever experience. The Connecticut-based band’s line-up features six steady members along with a trumpeter, a cellist, multiple synth players, and dueling vocals, all of which adds to their unfettered sound. The album kicks off with the powerful instrumental opener “blank #9”, which builds with a pristine arrangement of strings surrounding the single, clean guitar. The “second wave” emo sound emerges in “Heartbeat in The Brain”, with twinkling guitars and pulsing drums. The band addresses leaving a familiar hometown; Whenever you find home, if everyone belongs there, feeling our bodies breaking down, just trying to find a way out to a city so big that it is bound to keep your secrets.” The vocals are shrill and uncomfortable, which fits the track’s angst-riddled mood but may take some getting used to for new listeners. The chorus features those same whiney vocals backing up harsher screams that builds in a wild, emotional cacophony.

Where this album succeeds best are the breathy, atmospheric tones that suck the audience in. While “Fightboat” is a solid, short punchy track with mathy elements, more distorted guitars, and a well-utilized trumpet in the intro, it’s the fourth track, “Picture of a Tree That Doesn’t Look Okay,” that sees the group realize its full potential. The slowed pace allows the story the lyrics are painting room to breathe and the listener time to appreciate it. The guitars and drums and methodical but never feel stale and when the rumbling drums come in and the song accelerates, it packs that much more of a punch. The lyrics lament, We watch the fallen leaves turn to frozen trees, it’s been another year. Where do the echoes from the echoes go? Where does the water flow when it leaves our homes. I’ve been searching for this, something that I can run away with. It’s a life changing decision. Should I leave or try to beat this?” Once the song picks up, the lyrics really hit that emotional sweet spot. “You Will Never Go To Space” carries on where the previous track ended, opening on a moody intro that builds to a wild, synth-fueled closing before stopping so abruptly the listener barely has time to adjust before the next track kicks in.

The album offers no apologies for its crassness and little middle ground in terms of its style and format. Most tracks are either shorter than 2:30 or longer than 4:00, but the group’s diversity and control over their unique sound helps it succeed. “The Layers of Skin We Drag Around” clocks in at only 1:33 which fits the song’s punk-fueled bass lines and crunchy distorted guitars. The lyrics address the fear of growing older and losing youth, as the singer howls “We’re still scared but we’re also patient. I am still a mess. We connect in separate places.” The unease grows in “Ultimate Steve”, another slow track that builds into an agonizing avalanche while the lyrics worry, “The world will destroy me. Our voices will flood rivers and valleys. The world will destroy me. I am the mountains crumbling.”

The acoustic guitar heavy “Gig Life” and the choir-like vocals and twinkling piano in “Low Life Assembly” mount a memorable 1-2 punch leading into one of the better album closers of the year, the incredible “Getting Sodas”, which clocks in at seven minutes. The song takes every element the group has utilized throughout the first nine songs, from the powerful atmospheric overtones, the relatable, heart-wrenching lyrics, the twinkling guitars, the steady drumming, and the changing tempos and combines it into one stellar song. The song represents the poignant release the band has been building to from the album’s first note, combining the unease and uncertainty of life into a beautiful, poetic narrative that provides the listener closure; “We are ghosts in your homes. We travel under the floor, and when our voices fail us we will find new ways to sing. When our bodies fail we’ll find joy in the peace that it brings. The world is a beautiful place but we have to make it that way. Whenever you find home we’ll make it more than just a shelter. And if everyone belongs there it will hold us all together. If you’re afraid to die, then so am I.”

The music industry is a vast, thriving entity that is bustling with bands looking to make a name for themselves. In that world exists The World Is, a group that’s just looking to dive into this giant ecosystem and make a splash. With any luck, their strange personality and unique style will be just the thing that gets people to take notice. While perfect beauty is nice, it’s the chaos and unease that often creates the most lasting memory, and Whenever, If Ever is nothing if not brilliantly tumultuous, heavy and raw. It’s these qualities that make The World Is a sight to behold.

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