Various - Music by People Like Us (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Music by People Like Us (2008)


The Awake/Strong label and Define the Meaning found a nice cross-section of hardcore bands to showcase on Music by People Like Us, a 27-song compilation featuring names from across the board. It's definitely solid, but the positives and negatives tend to come from the same places.

It's wonderful to see Blacklisted, Kill Your Idols and Modern Life Is War here, and they all contribute solid or wonderful tracks, but all three songs are from 2005. All the bands have since released new material, so it's strange Awake/Strong couldn't acquire anything newer. Blacklisted ("How Quickly We Forget (Again)") couldn't throw something on here from Heavier Than Heaven, Lonelier Than God or even their Peace on Earth, War on Stage 7" rather than ...The Beat Goes On? Kill Your Idols ("Miserable and Satisfied") forbid any of the tracks on their 2007 swan song 7", Salmon Swim Upstream, from appearing? Modern Life Is War's ("The Outsiders (AKA Hell Is for Heroes Part 1)") Midnight in America not hardcore enough?

The liner notes are mostly made up of brief love letters to the respective bands from people we only get to know by their first name and state of residence. They all seem printed from their original submissions, so while the sincerity is nice, it tends to border on cheesy or peculiar (Tom from Pennsylvania: "I've never gotten out of an Always Uprising show without a fight. There's so much energy and electricity... The experience was nothing short of amazing." Uhhh...) and some editing wouldn't have hurt. I'd probably have just preferred lyrics for the songs, especially since a few are previously unreleased.

Oh, right, there are a few previously unreleased songs here, and those would likely be the disc's main draw. They come from District 9 (and Fahrenheit 451's Armando Bordas hopping on the track), who has the thug-themed "Addicts," though it's hard to really say whether they're taking a stance on something or merely recounting the danger of inner-city living; My Turn to Win's decent "Hear Me Now" demo; Pulling Teeth's 23-second noodly blast, "Ashes and Dust"; One4One's surprisingly excellent "This Day," a song that's way more melodic and driving than most things the band's peers could come up with; an acoustic track about Raybeez -- "Open Letter" -- from the legendary Walter Schreifels, which doesn't disrupt the flow too much since that whole section of the album is weird; and Always Uprising's "Get Up & Go."

Elsewhere, I found Everyday Dollars' "Supply and Demand" a pretty good lightweight Leeway hand-down, and Subhoodz hip-hop flavor in "454 Big Block" absolutely cringeworthy.

Overall, not a bad listen. There's enough melodic stuff to make up for sporadic posturing, and once in a while some plain ol' rock and roll flair.