Midtown - Forget What You Know (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Forget What You Know (2004)


Attention advice seekers: Midtown is most inconsistent in offering such. Then again, if you're looking to pop-punk for life-saving tips, you might already be desperate. There was definitely a certain element of upbeat, sly cynicism present on the band's first pair of efforts, but with a transfer of major label support also comes a significant shift in mood. In an almost* Alkaline Trio manner of sorts, the now moody, darker Midtown simply suggests we forget what we know. That's it? After saving the world in favor of the girl and living well to exact our revenge, you must simply Forget What You Know on several different levels. First, note that their pop-punk sound is still essentially there. Although initial impressions will lead a listener to thinking the band has taken an entirely new "rock" focus, it's only a slight turn in direction towards the ‘r' word. It's not a complete three-sixty, but rather a move of a few degrees to one side. Given several listens, you'll realize this. Second, their sneers have stretched. With the gang vocal chant of "so hard to believe you what you're looking for" in the introductory track that leads into Gabe Saporta's yelling of this little bite of doubt, you know full well skies are gray. This insistency on hopelessness and fear is all too consistent, with lines like "don't fall for mistake that I've made," "you could never understand the pain," and the pleading of "can you help me sleep again?" His Pinkerton-era Rivers Cuomo-esque laments (like his stern complaint towards sex in "Is it Me? Is it True?") come from a grown, maturing soul who had to have been oddly damaged by his relationship with a certain past label, likely a contributing factor to the new mood. Speaking of Gabe, his vocal styling has gone absolutely berserk. It almost sounds like he's trying to reach pitches he's incapable of making. It's sort of a throaty wail, a complete revamping that falls finely parallel to the turnaround in mood. However, "So Long as We Keep Our Bodies Numb We're Safe," the closing track, is a complete, total ripoff of "Goodbye Sky Harbor" as far as I'm concerned. Jimmy Eat World must've really brushed off on the band when the both of them trekked across Europe last year. Sure, it depends much more on a single vocal loop than its biggest influence does, but in the ten minutes it stretches on for, it becomes just how easily the comparison is elicited. As a whole, it's more fluid and energized than its Living Well… predecessor, but hardly as bold or invigorating (never mind the fact that it sounds like I'm describing a spice) as Save the World was. You'll sing along (assuming you're a fan), you'll probably remember the melodies (if you decide to give it a chance), but it could just definitely be more. * - I'm unarmed. Please don't shoot. PREVIEW THE ENTIRE ALBUM HERE