The Get Up Kids - On A Wire (Cover Artwork)

The Get Up Kids

On A Wire (2002)


In 1997, Get Up Kids released Four Minute Mile under Doghouse Records. Still considered part of the "underground scene," Four Minute Mile managed to catch the attention of my older sister's friends, and through such, mine as well. I was 13 years old and witnessing my first experience of the Get Up Kids. Status: Instantly Hooked. Constantly battling my sister for the cd, it hardly ever left my cd player, and being the immature brat that I was, I was hardly sorry when she finally broke down and bought me my own copy, at the same time she bought me Something To Write Home About, in 1999.

As we all know, Something To Write Home About is on par if not one of the most innovative "emo" (nasty labels..) albums released in our time. And being 15 years old, hormones roaring, and girls being the nasty creatures that they are, I was in awe at the blatant relation that every song had given to me. Even today, 3 years later, I look back and still find myself finding new meanings to every song, and simply wanting to shake the hands of each member of Get Up Kids for making such a fine album. The benevolent, relentless sound of constant sympathetic earnings in response to failed relationships, frustrations with social problems, and much more, Something To Write Home About was an album that got me through my freshman year in high school.

So where does that leave The Get Up Kids? After years of touring, they're forced to look back at what they have accomplished and where life has taken them. Three have been married, one with child, and well... they're simply not 21 anymore. Scenario: A Band needs to make an album, derive it from the deepest aspects of their intuition, create the pinnacle of their musical abilities, and hopefully in the long run produce the finest album they can. And, in my opinion, this is EXACTLY what they did. Making major sound changes, The Get Up Kids decided to take a considerable risk and abandon their former "emo" roots and dwell deeper into their musical inspirations. In consequence, we have On A Wire. Given, after a first listen, most faithful Get Up Kids fans, myself included, will sit their and simply wonder exactly what the hell happened here. Much more mellow, less rough, that an organ? But after a week of listening, I have come to like On A Wire even moreso than Something To Write Home About.

The album opens with 'Overdue,' an acoustic masterpiece obviously in regard to a certain someone in his past who left him/left him behind and wants reconciliation. Next comes 'Stay Gone,' probably the closest you're going to get to former GUKs in terms of sound, as it contains a fast rhythm and Matt's familiar singing style. Continuing, probably my favorite song, 'Let The Reigns Go Loose,' is where the album starts to take respects to past inspirations. And continues on to the very "groovy-styled" 'All That I know.' Along the way in the album comes 'Campfire Kansas,' probably the best live song on the album (and yes, they did a great job with this song in houston), and the closer, 'Hannah Hold On;' without a doubt the song that stabs your right in the heart above any other that Get Up Kids have written.

To put it simply, yes, people are going to complain about the new sound. Phrases such as "selling out," "over-produced," and "sucks" will pop up. But such people need to acknowledge that there is more to music than labels and scenes. People's musical agendas change, and if you can't see the benefits and how well Get Up Kids have taken such a change, then by all means, mail your copy to me and I'll be sure to distribute it accordingly.