This album holds a lot of memories for me, as it was the album that got me into punk. I grew up in a pretty Christian home and for most of junior high I was into the whole Jars of Clay type stuff. Then when I was 17 in 1998 I heard Suckerpunch on a comp cd that one of my sister's friends brought over, and I thought it was an awesome song. So then I went out and got this album as quick as I could, and I pretty much listened to it non-stop. I had never really cared that much about music before this. I pretty much threw out my old Jars of Clay and stuff for this, it was the only cd I had that I even cared about any more. I needed more. The next few cds that I bought I picked almost randomly... Hello Rockview by Less Than Jake, Duh by Lagwagon, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes Have a Ball... it totally threw me into a new world of music and made me really care about what I was listening to. It was like what bands like Blink182 and Sum41 do for kids who only watch MTV for new music. It's like a gateway drug.
So anyway, that's my story about my emotional connection to this record, now for the actual review. I still listen to this cd pretty often, and it's a good solid punk ska album. The some of the best tracks on the album would probably be Fistful of Sand, Handbook for the Sellout, Oh Canada, and Blue Comb 78. The Christian parts of the cd aren't all that overbearing and don't even really show up until the fifth track with Suckerpunch, and even that song is more about a kid picking his nose and getting beat up than it is preaching. Anyway, here's a track by track review of what to expect here...
- Handbook For The Sellout - Nice opening track, similar in message to Lagwagon's Know It All, but from a different perspective. Apparently the song was written about Green Day, which makes sense when you listen to it.
- Where Is Micah? - Funny song about one of the guys in the band and how he's late for everything.
- Superpowers - A song about life on the road while on tour, starts out pretty humorous and winds up as a sort of commentary on what is really important to them as a band and how fame isn't what they want.
- Fistful Of Sand - This is a nice catchy ska track that breaks into hardcore for a few seconds near the end before slowing right back into the ska for the end of the song. Definitely one of the highlights of the album.
- Suckerpunch - A song about a kid getting picked on who finds God. It's cute and catchy and it's also the first ska tune I really liked.
- Kitty Doggy - This is just the band screwing around. It's kind of funny, but it means absolutely nothing.
- Blue Comb 78 - This song is great. Musically it's one of the best songs on the album but the lyrics are about a comb that was lost on the highway when they were kids. The intro is slow and mellow and it suddenly speeds up with "She threw my new blue comb out the window somewhere on I70!" I just find it funny how the song is about something so trivial and it sounds more passionate than almost anything else on the album.
- Banner Year - Yeah, a typical Five Iron Frenzy cowboy song. They really don't like cowboys. After Blue Comb this song is kind of a downer... and I always found cowboys boring as a kid.
- Second Season - Ok, this song is actually a little preachy, so maybe I lied...
- Litmus - A good song. It's about challenging God, but more from an angry perspective than a preachy one. Musically it's one of the better songs on the album, and you can feel the emotion for sure.
- Oh Canada - This song is a catchy and funny ska tune about Canada. I live in Canada and I find this thing hilarious. It's funny when Americans try to figure out what's true and what isn't here. Yes, we do have milk in bags.
- Most Likely To Succeed - I honestly can't think of much to say about this song.
- Every New Day - The other kind of preachy song, but musically it's better than the other one.
- The Godzilla Song - This is a hidden track after Every New Day. The song is weird... It sounds like it's just some members of the band screwing around in the studio. It's actually kind of funny, kind of like Kitty Doggy... not really worth listening to, but funny enough at the same time. If you have Cheeses of Nazareth it's like a lot of the stuff on there.
Overall, if you're into ska-punk and stuff, this a decent cd, altho toward the end is does get a little slow. If you're a Five Iron Frenzy fan, then you really should have this album anyway.
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