In case you hadn’t noticed over the past year, I’m a huge fan of the alternative rock genre. Call me an emo kid, I know you want to. It’s okay. I am one. So, when I heard Boys Like Girls was going to be playing at the Just Press Play II Concert I was ecstatic. Okay, I’m not going to act like I’ve followed them since they were underground. Truth? I bought their CD last week because I wanted to know their songs for the concert, but I have been missing out. Boys Like Girls is an incredibly talented band. If you take Something Corporate, Jimmy Eat World, Relient K, Sugarcult, Taking Back Sunday, Brand New, and Fall Out Boy and throw all their sounds onto one CD – what an awesome CD that would be – you have BLG. They taken every popular sound in the alternative genre and make a CD that will touch upon the deepest recesses of your soul. BLG’s self-titled debut was released on August 22, 2006. The Boston quartet of guitarist/vocalist Martin Johnson , bassist Bryan Donahue, drummer John Keefe, and guitarist Paul DiGiovanni started by posting online demos before catching the interest of agent Matt Galle and producer Matt Squire. Before long their debut was hitting stands under the Red Ink label. The album starts off with an alterna-pop ditty entitled “The Great Escape.” An anthem to getting away from everyone who is trying to tell you what to do. With familiar guitar riffs and a radio friendly sound, this song made a great debut single and will hook anyone who really just wants to breakaway from it all and live for just one night. Their second single, “Hero/Heroine” makes me wonder if it’s a badly hidden allusion to illegal activities or as the video suggests an innocent crush on a girl. We may never really know but it isn’t uncommon for bands in the genre to make reference to the dubious activity. Something Corporate, one of the bands contempories, has a lyric on their debut album that says, “If you could be my punk rock princess, I would be your heroine.” The lyrics to the BLG song can definitely go in both directions, discussing his “heroine” as his “sweetest sin.” “Me, You, and My Medication” sounds like an ode to a Taking Back Sunday era mixed with ballad sound of Brand New via Deja Entendu, is an interesting song about how “love is just a chemical creation” and takes about the love triangle between a guy, a girl and the guy’s medication. And yet even through all the haze the song boils down to this point, “Were all addicted to something / That takes away the pain.” For the boys of BLG they are addicted to a girl. In true emo fashion, the album has the scorned lover song “Up Against the Wall”. This version of the story involves, “Who said that it’s better to have loved and lost? / I wish that I had never loved at all,” and “You crossed your heart, I hope to die.” BLG however approaches the angered, torn lover not through an angry sound, but through a sound that can only depict a person trying to understand the unexplainable things in a relationship’s end. The longing and confusion are all evident in this song. “Dance Hall Drug” sounds like a song that Fall Out Boy or more recently Panic! at the Disco would sing. “Five Minutes to Midnight” is a song that reminds me of the Sugarcult and Relient K sound. “On Top of the World” is reminiscent of Something Corporate and “Thunder” could quite possibly have been a track on a Dashboard Confessional album. “Learning to Fall” could be from an All American Rejects CD.
“Broken Man” offers the tale of a man hurt by a girl but offers mixed tempos and a varying bass that can represent the moving on process going on in the bands’ life. It has the competing vocalists made popular by Taking Back Sunday and includes lines like, “I will learn to love again but I will stand a broken man.”
“Heels over Head” is a purely BLG song. With an upbeat tempo and catchy lyrics this song really encompasses everything the album is trying to achieve. The chorus really makes the song: “Now I’m heels over head, / I’m hangin’ upside-down / Thinkin’ how you left me for dead / California bound.” It goes on to talk about the “ghost of what we used to be” a popular friend of the alternative artist.
BLG ends the album on a ballad titled “Holiday.” It is so far from where the album began musically and emotionally and yet the message is the same. “I need to take a holiday,” is very similar to making “the great escape.” It’s a somber breaking out but it is still the same message, “All of the wasted time / The hours that were left behind /The answers that we’ll never find / They don’t mean a thing tonight.”
And as we listen to Boys Like Girls on Saturday night we will truly understand what it means to not have the world matter for one night. Finals won’t matter, summer is upon us and for once we are free. We may not have Ludacris, but I promise Boys Like Girls will take you on an adventure that you won’t soon forget.