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The Get Up Kids
Guilt Show
Vagrant Records

I hate pop punk. The very term is an oxymoron. Let's review: you take a style of music whose entire reason for existing is to rebel against society, then you violently force it into a relationship with popular culture, the mainstream, slick industry executives and crass marketing techniques. Who in the hell came up with this idea? Needless to say, I think the entire genre should be dragged out into the street and shot, lynched, skinned alive, dipped in a vat of acid, hacked into pieces and fed to wild wolves. You get the idea.

Moving beyond the genre and onto the actual album, The Get Up Kids' latest effort, Guilt Show. When reading the novel that is their press kit, one thing is apparent above all else: everyone is totally impressed that these guys have been around for seven years, have kids, and have magically gotten older (Surely not, no! How ever did they do it?). Somehow all of this must mean that they've matured musically. No. I don't care if they're old geezers; I don't care if they've gotten married and knocked up their wives; I don't care if they've gone from mostly-punk-with-pop-gloss to MTV-worthy-slick-pop-drowning-out-punk's-death-rattle-none of this makes their music "mature." It's still the stuff that rich teens from the suburbs rock out to when daddy lets them borrow the car and run downtown with their friends.

Am I objecting to their lyrical content? Absolutely not. I have no problem with angsty, emotional, skillfully crafted lyrics. Everyone has gone through those emotions at some point in their lives; everyone can identify. In fact, if their lyrics were put to any other kind of music on the planet earth, I would be a fan of the Get Up Kids. I can say this with some amount of certainty because their brief departure from the rape of 1970s counter-culture in "Is There A Way Out" and "Conversation" is actually a beautiful example of what they COULD do, but choose not to. And that's fine. Just don't make me listen to it.

In summary: if you're the type who enjoys shopping for studded leather wristbands at Hot Topic, then this album is a must-have. It is well written, well produced, and actually has a little more scope than your average, run-of-the-mill pop punk band. Otherwise, pull the two above-mentioned tracks off the Internet and don't waste your time with the rest.

Something tells me this is the last time my editor's going to send me a pop punk CD.

- Emily Strong

Track Listing:
1. Man of Conviction
2. The One You Want
3. Never Be Alone
4. Wouldn't Believe It
5. Holy Roman
6. Martyr Me
7. How Long Is Too Long
8. Sick In Her Skin
9. In Your Sea
10. Sympathy
11. The Dark Night of the Soul
12. Is There A Way Out
13. Conversation


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