Nightmare of You
Nightmare of You
ell, well, well.
Pop punk is all grown up and shit, having conquered the unimportant hallways of public education, outdone the Wal-Mart parking lot used for puppy love trysts, and finally realized that the Hüsker Dü iron-on patch is entirely irreconcilable with the glove compartment of Simple Plan ticket stubs. Our little boy went off to school to study melody and adorned his dorm room with posters of
But he’s a sophomore and, what’s more, sophomoric in thinking that this qualifies as a grand revolution instead of a thinly veiled stab at novelty. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes he certainly singes the loose threads indicative of that lazy pop punk tapestry, but more often than not it boils down to merely flipping the duvet over to expose the other side; ensorcelled by the new colors, he believes it means the texture will also differ. The changes are purely superficial, and we know this because the kid still sleeps on the same goddamn covers he’s had all his life.
Friends gave him the sobriquet Nightmare of You for no other reason than the concatenated words had an aggregate weight more impressive and ambiguous than they did as individuals. Thing is, he still talks about the same scribbles he wrote on miscellaneous 11th grade textbooks: girls, girls, girls, and just a scintilla of politics (“Heaven Runs on Oil”), a lone vestige of gramps Black Flag and Minor Threat. The main difference is that the little notes he wrote to that cute girl Megan (or Meghan on “I Want To Be Buried In Your Backyard”) who sat behind him in Algebra II have now been supremely fluffed, pumped full of so much thespian excess that they became masturbatory (check it: the liner notes even have an “Intermission” and the songs are made to look like movements.). Here’s an excerpt from the dramatists’ own flooding pens:
O Meghan, is this thing of ours still on?Damn, son. That’s some straight Will Shakespeare pining right there. Get this kid a Caramel latte and a table at the nearest Starbucks and Do! Not! Dis! turb! At least the music itself fares better once in a while in supporting such histrionics, like the synths on “My Name is Trouble,” the ensemble refrain of “Dear Scene, I Wish I Were Deaf,” the horn outro to “Ode to Serotonin” which, consequently, reminds you of (wait for it!) The Decemberists. Hell, even the country tinge of “Marry Me” is a nice little break, but the newness of each experience is expended quickly because they give way easily to an expected and transparent pop punk substructure.
For I haven’t slept a wink since you’ve been gone
Now I want to be buried in your backyard
And when the flowers grow
Just know you’re still in my heart
Nightmare of You have mastered General Studies, digging into every little field and retrieving a little kernel of interest. But rather than plant those kernels in their own soil—which is now a veritable heath—they’d rather festoon their exterior with the influences hoping some wouldn’t be able to discern their center from the surface (that’s you, NME). And while at school our boy didn’t take his work seriously enough to move beyond the obvious, the problem is that he thinks his weak little pastiche will draw anything but novice ears.