Friday, February 25, 2011

Thursday... A Tribute

Tomorrow and Sunday mark the days of something I don't recall ever happening before: Thursday is coming to the same state as me and I don't get to see them :( These would have been my 8th and 9th Thursday shows. You can never have too much of your favorite.

Although their style has changed and been tweaked over the years, the core of Thursday is always there: first and foremost, the group effort. No one instrument is more important than another, just like the vocals are nothing without the rest of the band. They are all prominently displayed, if not all in one song, then more or less in another. Take “Division Street”, a prime example for a guttural focus on bass and rhythm, which a secondary sound of a peaky guitar riff. Then switch focus to “This Song Brought To You By A Falling Bomb” where the piano takes over and sweeps into motion, carrying and running with the softness of Geoff Rickly’s voice so beautifully that you can’t help but let it move you in some way. The helpless sadness seems to almost turn into a harsh sadness, an anger, towards the end, upset that the person this song is written about has to feel this way.  It’s the crescendo, the climax, the breaking point… “ But the footsteps are getting’ louder, drownin’ out the sound of the rain as it knocks on the window sill. I’m not answering the phone, let it ring. Lately I’ve been feeling like a fallin’ bomb. The ground is getting closer and the sky… is falling… down.”

 This Song Brought To You By A Falling Bomb
Division Street

Another amazing this about their music is the reprieve that every song takes from its path. The heavy and charged songs perhaps get a little quieter, the lamenting songs see a brighter light. I believe that these are called “bridges” in the musical world, but they are so much more than that. The purpose of these sections is not to fill a “role” of a bridge. They are there to complete the song, to bring it to greater depths.

Now, lead singer, Geoff Rickly, is not only phenomenal of his own accord, but he is my hero as a lyricist and musician, employing passion that is unprecedented by any other. His use of imagery, metaphor, simile… they are all so amazing. You listen to his lyrics and think, “Wow, I can practically feel, smell, taste, hear, see EVERYTHING he is saying. I’m right there, in the song. I AM the song.” His writing is an example to me. I’ve often written pieces that borrow his lack of structure, his use of connotation, personification… I swear, he has a degree in creative writing, or he was born with a complete knowledge of words and literary devices.

 Did I mention tough? He smashed his face on the microphone when he was swinging it around, but, dammit, he finished his set.

I just read an article about their new, upcoming CD (which is released the day after my ultrasound, four days after my birthday, so, just putting it out there, it would be a rad birthday gift) and listened to their single, “Magnets Caught In A Metal Heart”. Granted, this isn’t what I was expecting from Thursday, but it was amazing, none the less. It also retains plenty of elements from Thursday’s past albums. When listening to the song, it felt like a mixture of A City By The Light Divided, with some choice elements from War All The Time and Common Existence. It ends abruptly, I wasn’t ready for it. Even now, I’m sitting here, having just listened to it again, not sure exactly what I was writing when it ended. Geoff Rickly comments about the unusual characteristics of the song in an article, saying, "It was really fun to write a pop song and not be writing it because we think we might have some chance at getting a radio hit or because our label wanted us to. It's ‘cause we don't give a fuck about punk kids telling us it's not punk to write a pop song." This is honest. This is what music is about: writing and singing and playing what you WANT to play, not what everyone says you should. He then goes on to explain why it’s the single for this album: "This is a really different record and we thought we should just come out of the gates with a really different song… If our die hard fans heard the heavy songs first, like the heavy, passionate 'Past and Future Ruins' or 'Turnpike Divides,' is it false advertising, basically? It's like a warning for our fans: You're not going to get the record you think you're going to get." And bless them for it. Bring on something different, something fresh. And I’m not saying anything bad about their previous albums, especially their first three full albums (this is to exclude Five Stories Falling, their live album, which actually contains one of my favorite Thursday songs, perhaps my favorite of all time, “Jet Black New Year”). They could re-release a mixture of Waiting, Full Collapse, and War All The Time and I would be ecstatic. But this is progression, this is moving forward.
I could go on writing another nearly 900 words about this amazing group of people, but I think you all just need to experience Thursday for yourselves. So go do it.

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