Categorized | Arts & Entertainment

The Scene: Growth with Music

Despite music being pretty much all I talk about, I’m not a very fun person to talk about music with. I can spend all day going on tangents about which artists and genres I like or dislike, and I could probably waste my life writing a Master’s dissertation on why Modest Mouse was the best band of the 90s. But like many a sweaty boy with guitars, my musical journey started with pop-punk. So if you have the time, listen to me whine and wax nostalgic about a not-so-innocent genre that defined my years of innocence.

Before music was collecting records, playing in bands and making mixtapes for girls I liked, it all started with me buying Green Day: Rock Band, a game I’m convinced, in retrospect, nobody bought or even remembers. While other kids my age did normal shit like go to summer camp or make friends playing Pokémon, I was a dorky, goody-two-shoes 11 year old immersing myself in a world of stoners and burnouts who wasted away their 20s watching daytime TV and masturbating so much that it wasn’t even fun anymore. I was throwing myself feet first into Billie Joe Armstrong’s “mental cave” back when I was afraid of getting in trouble for listening to songs with “fuck” in the lyrics and when I thought Blink 182’s “Take Off Your Pants and Jacket” was just an allusion to getting changed. Looking back, I’m genuinely surprised and grateful I never asked my parents what an “Enema of the State” was.

I can’t help but reminisce fondly on the time, because if music is one of my great loves, then that means pop-punk was my first musical courtship. Green Day and Blink 182 were bands that could be my life half a decade before I knew that was a Minutemen lyric. Going with the analogy, though, it’s impossible to go nine years without having a willingness to change or experiences that alter how you look at the world, and I naturally drifted to other genres that fit with my shifting interests. Now I was more interested in Paul Westerberg telling me that my “age was the hardest age” or Mark Kozelek lament that “at 15  [he thought he’d] have it down by 16,” because it just  felt so real  to moody, misanthropic teenage me.

I mostly forgot about the genre and the bands I’d loved so dearly in the past until I was listening to a “Chapo Trap House” episode where one of the hosts had just, while recording, suddenly got the admittedly not-that-funny double entendre behind “Take Off Your Pants and Jacket,” and all of a sudden I went back into a nostalgic dive in which I made a key realization: I wasn’t too old for pop-punk as I got older, I was too young and oblivious to fully comprehend the music I loved. I still don’t think it’s the best music out there by any means, even if Green Day’s “Dookie” absolutely still holds up and Blink-182’s misogyny on “Dumpweed” and “Dysentery Gary” feel like precursors to the online incel movement. Still, it’ll always be an important, if embarrassing first step on my musical journey.

Andrew Kilbride, a Staff Writer for the Voice, can be reached for comment at

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