The Get Up Kids - Guilt Show (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Get Up Kids

Guilt Show (2004)


Consider this the "lost" Get Up Kids album, if you will. Somewhere in between the sugar high if Something To Write Home About and the alt-country leanings of the wholly underappreciated [and absolutely dynamite when performed live] On A Wire, the Get Up Kids apparently recorded Guilt Show. While this really isn't true, the idea fits - the band took the best parts of what their fans loved and mixed it with the best parts of what they themselves loved, and they ended up with Guilt Show.

Because of this compromise, of sorts, the album suffers somewhat. The opening salvo of "Man Of Conviction," not even two minutes long, just feels a bit too rehearsed to really be as spontaneous as it sounds. It's like the band was saying "the kids want a pop punk song, we'll give them a pop punk song." I like the track, but I can't help but feel a little bit... guilty, ironically.

The band's more midtempo, melodic side comes out in the album's gems - "Wouldn't Believe It," "Martyr Me," and "The One You Want" are total pop-rock fun. On A Wire's influence creeps up on "Is There A Way Out," as the band gets quasi-experimental with electronics and jams the track out for quite a few minutes [more than neccessary].

The Kids let their classic rock influences shine through in album closer "Conversation." This piece of riff-rock sounds like Cheap Trick at their finest. It's not the best song the band's ever written, but it's a nice way to wrap up the disc. Sadly, it's not enough to erase the memory of the middle portion of the album, which is rather forgettable balladry and straightforward rock.

This album has been getting a lot of praise from fans and critics alike, due to the band going "back to their old sound." They really don't, though - they merely wrote enough old-sounding songs to please their core fanbase while still trying to expand their musical horizons to keep themselves happy in concert. The disc itself even sounds like it was recorded at the same time as Something To Write Home About; there's not nearly enough hidden surprises as there were in On A Wire.

With Four Minute Mile, the Get Up Kids pioneered a new wave of pop-emo. With Something To Write Home About, the band leapt to the front of the pack, with their hyperactive keyboard lines and singalong choruses. With On A Wire, the band's dodgy experimentation put them one step forward but two steps back. With Guilt Show, the Get Up Kids get stuck in a holding pattern. The songwriting slid, the singing is basic, and the exclusion of Jim Suptic's vocals make the album incredibly one-sided. That being said, it's still a fun album [what Get Up Kids disc isn't?], and is worth a listen or two.

Wouldn't Believe It
Martyr Me