Late last year, punk rock band Bad Year released its new EP, Faded Memories through the independent record label Punkerton Records. The six-song record is a presentation that will find appeal among most pop punk acts. That is due in part to its featured musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly. The lyrical themes that accompany the record’s musical content make for their own interest and will be discussed a little later. The record’s production rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later. Each item noted is crucial in its own way to the whole of Faded Memories. All things considered they may Faded Memories a record that most pop punk fans will find worth watching at least once.
Faded Memories, the new EP from independent pop punk outfit Bad Year, is a presentation that the band’s fans and pop punk fans in general will find worth hearing at least once. That is due in part to the record’s featured musical arrangements. The record’s musical content is being marketed as being similar in style in sound to works from the like of The Lawrence Arms, Alkaline Trio, and The Flatliners, yet in listening through each arrangements, the comparison to The Lawrence Arms could not be more incorrect. The comparison to the likes of Alkaline Trio and The Flatliners is loose at best. Right from the record’s outset audiences get more of a sense of works from the likes of Jimmy Eat World, what with the pairing of the specific guitar line and vocal styling. As the song progresses, the approach moves more in the direction of All American Rejects and to a lesser extent, Alkaline Trio.
‘Killing Me,’ the EP’s second song, takes listeners more in a direction of New Found Glory meets Alkaline Trio, what with the semi-screaming vocals. One could almost argue that there is a certain sense of skate punk in this approach. Even with that influence in mind, the New Found Glory comparison is still there, will keeping the song separate from anything from that band. ‘The End,’ the EP’s third entry has much the same approach.
The Alkaline Trio comparison returns in the EP’s next three songs, which compose the record’s second half. At the same time, the songs still manage to maintain their own identity, therefore showing more the appeal that the arrangements in whole are sure to offer listeners. All things considered, the musical side of Faded Memories is reason enough for pop punk fans and those of Bad Year to take in the band’s latest record.
While the musical content featured in Faded Memories is reason enough to hear the record, the lyrical themes that accompany the musical content makes for its own interest. The EP’s opener, ‘Charcoal Black’ is a prime example of the lyrics’ importance. In the case of this song, it comes across as being about letting go of the past and moving forward. That is, at least this critic’s interpretation. This is inferred the lead verse and chorus, which state, “As you close your eyes/And fall asleep/Suddenly you realize/You’ve been fed lies/So let some light in/A vision you can see/AS it falls down/Around you and me/You end up on your knees/And the clock meets midnight/And you can’t breathe/Charcoal black image of agony/We tried and we lied our hearts again/I’m dying here on this floor/Another faded memory.” The song continues in the second verse, “Open your eyes/Don’t say goodnight/Let the world go by/The imagery and empty scenes you’ve been fed.” This is basically telling people to realize they need to grab the day, realize what has happened in the past, that we keep allowing the negative to enter our lives. Again, this is just this critic’s interpretation. If in fact this is the intended message then it is a positive, uplifting message that will resonate with listeners.
‘Blackout’ is another example of the importance of this record’s lyrical themes. In the case of this song it is even more familiar, as it comes across as a song about a broken relationship and someone looking back on said relationship. This is inferred right from the song’s outset as the lead verse and chorus state, “You said this time/Things would be different/Shame on me/For actually believing it/I don’t want to know what you’re offering/So just let it go/Blacking out on California/Breaking down every time I try to leave/Blinded by sudden danger/Get me out of here/I’m dying.” This certainly comes across as being a statement about a broken relationship. The second verse follows that sense, as the subject seems to be dealing with the emotional fallout from the breakout. This as the verse states, “For now I’m screaming in silence/Can’t believe/The stale air beneath my wings/Don’t want your bleeding promises/Falling from your face/Doused in gasoline.” This is a theme that is certain to resonate with plenty of listeners, especially in its accessibility.
‘Killing Me’ is yet another example of the importance of the EP’s lyrical themes. In the case of this song, it comes across as being a story of a person sharing the story of someone who is battling mental health concerns and telling that story teller about the battle. This is inferred as the subject sings, “She tells me she’s alive today/And she never should have found her way/Now she tells me everything/That a part of her will never cut and bleed the same/She tells me she’s null and void/Empty inside her head/Everything’s been killing her/A calloused thought/Of never waking up again/Sitting on the ledge again/Trying to fly away/Forgetting everything you meant to me/Ships will sail/Winds prevail/She is killing me.” This sounds like the subject is telling the story of that person’s confession while also dealing with his/her own emotional struggles in dealing with that person’s own struggles. It makes for an interesting concept that again, is just this own critic’s interpretation. To that end it makes clear once more the importance of the record’s lyrical content. When this and the other themes addressed here are considered along with the record’s other themes, the whole gives audiences all the more reason to give Faded Memories a chance. The collective themes are just part of what makes the EP worth hearing, too. The record’s production is also of note.
The production that went into the EP is important because of its role in the record’s general effect. The balance of the vocals and instrumentation from one song to the next is itself worth of applause. That is because it ensures that at no point do the vocals get muddied by the instruments. At the same time, the instruments are themselves balanced with each other throughout each song. Case in point is the presence of the bass line in ‘Paranoid Failure.’ While it is a supporting role here, it still has a prominent role at points throughout the song, and it compliments so well, the guitars and drums. That is a testament to the attention paid to each line here. The energy in ‘Blackout’ and the control of the vocal levels on the other side of the glass helped to really bring out the best of the band in this case, too, really heightening the emotional impact of the song. It is just one more example of the importance of the album’s production. When the production in each song is considered alongside the role of the content in general, the whole makes Faded Memories a mostly enjoyable offering for any pop punk fan.
Faded Memories, the new EP from Bad Year, is a presentation that is sure to appeal to the band’s established audiences and to pop punk fans in general. That is evidenced in part through the record’s musical arrangements. The arrangements lend themselves easily to comparison to works from the likes of Jimmy Eat World, Alkaline Trio, and New Found Glory. At the same time, the songs still manage to maintain their own identity separate from the works of those comparative bands, even with the similarities in mind. The band is to be applauded for walking that line as well as it does in each arrangement. The lyrical themes featured in this record make for their own interest because of their accessibility and familiarity. They ensure listeners’ engagement and entertainment just as much as the record’s musical content. The production that went into each song puts the finishing touch to the record’s presentation. It creates a positive general effect in each song. Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the record. All things considered they make Faded Memories a presentation that will find its own place among the ranks of recently released pop punk records.
Faded Memories is available now. More information on the EP is available along with all of Bad Year’s latest news at: