Tag Archives: Punk

Fat Music Vol. IV: Life in the Fat Lane

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For me, this album was basically the Big Shiny Tunes 2 of punk music. A collection of some really great songs, and a snapshot of a time where Punk music was on the cusp of big mainstream success.

In a bit of a repeat theme, my introduction to Fat Music Volume IV involved after-school PlayStation sessions. The differences being, this was a different friend, we were playing Twisted Metal 3, and there was approximately 100% more German punk music involved.

Life in the Fat Lane put me in that coveted position of knowing all about the coolest bands that nobody else had heard of yet. The “yet” part was the key point, because there’s that implication that at any time, one of these bands could become immensely popular. For the most part, that didn’t happen, but I still felt like I was holding the keys to the cool kingdom on my way into high school. I was all set to be “that guy” who could be relied on to spread the knowledge of Lagwagon and Swingin’ Utters. This also, for the most part, didn’t end up happening.

I did, however, end up bonding with a future best friend over our mutual love of Me First and the Gimmie Gimmes. Nothing quite says “instant friends”, like a shared appreciation of Rogers and Hammerstein played really, really fast.

1. Lagwagon – May 16
2. Mad Caddies – Road Rash
3. No Use for a Name – Coming Too Close
4. Sick of it All – Pass the Buck
5. Consumed – **** Called Maurice
6. Swingin’ Utters – Promise to Distinction
7. Good Riddance – Heresy, Hypocrisy, and Revenge
8. Frenzal Rhomb – Do You Wanna Fight Me?
9. Strung Out – The Exhumation of Virginia Madison
10. Avail – Taken
11. The Ataris – San Dimas High School Football Rules
12. Tilt – Old School Pig
13. Goober Patrol – Part Time SF Ecologist
14. NOFX – The Plan
15. Snuff – Keep the Beat
16. Screeching Weasel – Dummy Up
17. Me First and the Gimme Gimmes – My Favorite Things
18. WIZO – Quadrat im Kreis

#songoftheday: The Ataris – San Dimas High School Football Rules

This is without a doubt, my favourite song off Life in the Fat Lane.
The lyrics tell a story of a guy, stuck in the friend zone, and hopelessly in love with an unattainable girl. It’s sad, but really sweet and sincere at the same time.

In my opinion, it’s the greatest punk rock love song ever.

Americana

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If I was asked to pick one album that defined my teenage musical taste, Americana would be it.

I was introduced to the speedy guitar riffs, and unique vocal stylings of The Offspring by a friend of mine in grade 8. His older brother had a pretty extensive Offspring collection at the time, so they ended up providing the background tunes for most of our afterschool Tekken 3 tournaments.  No offense to the people behind the Tekken soundtrack, but “Kick Him When He’s Down” should’ve been Lei Wulong’s theme song…. just sayin’. At the time, Americana was their latest release, so it seemed like a good place to start, if I was going to build an Offspring collection of my own.

As a 13 year old boy in Northern Ontario, the fact that the entire album was a satire of American culture went a bit over my head.  From the phone menu opening, to lyrics of disillusionment with American dream… it wasn’t exactly new ground, but it was new to me.  Almost like a punk rock precursor to The Suburbs by Arcade Fire.

There were plenty of things that I did appreciate about it at the time though. The fact that “Have You Ever” lead seamlessly into “Staring at the Sun” blew my mind at the time. I was a good five years away from hearing the Abbey Road medley, so that extra bit of flair convinced me that The Offspring were punk rock musical geniuses. Not only that, but they even had the audacity to include a hidden song at the end (again, not unlike Abbey Road).

The palm muted guitars, and high speed drum beats went on to provide the blueprint for music that I would be guaranteed to enjoy in high school. Kind of like having iTunes genius only give recommendations based on The Offspring. The music had an edge and aggression to it, but it was never oppressively heavy sounding. It was an odd mix of comfort and danger that really clicked with me.  Comforting because you could always count on that prototypical punk sound, and dangerous because they’d toss in just enough curse words to avoid a “Parental Advisory” sticker on the cover.

I don’t listen to as much Offspring these days, but I really can’t imagine what high school would’ve been like without them.

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