Forget What You Know

by Jonathan Buttrick
Tuesday Jun 29, 2004
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Midtown was born out of Rutgers students in 1998, and then formulating their sound in the New Jersey punk scene. After an independent EP and then a full-length record, which was eventually distributed by MCA, they had officially hit the big time, touring through Europe with Jimmy Eat World and headlining various venues in the US, UK, and Japan. Sounds like they were in a good place, right? Well something happened. Where they unhappy? Where they disillusioned? Were they making music for all the wrong reasons? Whatever the case may be, they got out of their contract and apparently took almost a year off before piling into a studio (sans a corporate financial backer) in November of 2003 and recorded some very different sounding songs that became what is now their new album, “Forget What You Know.” Seems appropriately titled for a band that’s starting over.

Disillusionment and finding one’s saving grace are the themes here. Featured is “Give It Up” their contribution to the most recent Spider-Man soundtrack. Instantly likable, this song is a great intro to what may be perceived as a new sound, and sets the tone for the disappointment that they seemed to have gone through since the last album:

“Give it up, Give it up
Don’t fall for the same things
Give it up, Give it up
Don’t fall for mistakes that I’ve made.”

Other highlights include the Brit-punk sounding “Waiting for the News.” They tap into something truly genuine on “Manhattan,” a song of hopelessness, that begins slow and moody then bursts into a loud, rollicking ending.

But the best moment of the album comes at the very end. The last track, “So Long as We Keep Out Bodies Numb We’re Safe” may seem excessive, both in its title and its length (slightly over 13 minutes). Yes, it’s a little too ambitious. But that’s okay. It’s truly wonderful. They sum up their whole disillusionment experience quite nicely:

“Fuck what you know
Can’t you see it’s shallow?
Every time you swallow
Do you get a taste of what you’ve become?”

Starting off fast and furious, it bleeds into a solitary guitar riff after the fifth stanza, continuing it’s theme of raging disillusionment. Two and a half minutes into the song, we’re at a hasty piano solo that comes out of nowhere, yet doesn’t seem out of place. They sing, overlapping each other, repeating “you had all the time in the word” and looping it again and again with the phrase “you don’t listen.” But you can’t help but to listen. This is only four minutes into the song, and the remaining nine minutes repeat this style, but if you really listen it doesn’t get tiring. Not only do they know how to write a decent song, but they just seem to know what sounds good. Plain and simple.

by Midtown

Release Date: June 29, 2004
Label: Columbia


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