The purpose of my “introducing” blogs is to direct people to new up and coming bands, this despite being only my second one will be slightly different. This blog is more of a spotlight on rather than an introducing. The spotlight is on Minneapolis punk rockers Off With Their Heads.
I’ve been going through a bit of a rubbish time lately and Off With Their Heads make perfect music for me to escape with, but more about that later, first a bit of background on the band. Like I mentioned earlier Off With Their Heads formed in 2002 in Minneapolis. In that time they have released multiple albums and EPs on labels such as No Idea Records, Chunksaah Records and their current home, the mighty Epitaph Records. Since forming the band has always had a rotating cast of musicians with lead singer and guitarist Ryan Young being the only constant. Young has stated in interviews before that this has been good for the band as it has prevented touring life becoming stale and different people and personalities coming in and out has kept things fresh. Their style is often described as gruff punk rock and melodic hardcore. I also think that there is an element of pop punk in the music.
For me what make’s Off With Their Heads stand out above of their contemporaries is Ryan Young’s lyrics. For me he is the best lyricist not just in punk rock but in the whole world of music. Sure he’s lyrics can be incredibly dark but whatever the subject matter of the song they hit the nail on the head perfectly. The great thing about them is no matter how dark the lyrics may be (I Know I’m Sick and I’m Not Right, I’m So Fucking Tired Of Living This Life) the songs are incredibly uplifting. I’ve only had the pleasure of seeing them live once. The night before I had had a terrible night and was feeling so low. I nearly didn’t go to the gig but I forced myself along and it definitely sorted me out. It was like a night of therapy. I night of very loud, very sweaty therapy but I came out feeling like a tonne of weight had been lifted off of my shoulders.
Almost every single one of their songs has some amazing lyrics in them. The song Drive which is a song about being depressed and struggling to find a reason to get by (I’m Not Alive, I’m Just As Good As Dead, I Can’t Find A Reason Why I Should Even Get Outta Bed) and wanting to get away from everything (So I Just Drive, It Doesn’t Matter Where, I Put My Foot To The Floor and Let The Wind Blow Through My Hair).
The song Their Own Medicine is about being bullied and having the courage to stand up for yourself. The verse that goes “For All The Weak and For All The Poor, For All The Tortured Who Can’t Take Anymore, Don’t Let Them Get The Best Of You, Sometimes The Only Thing You Can Do, Is Wait Until You Cross Paths Again, You’ll Be In A Position To Make It All End, You’ve Been Dreaming About It All This Time, And It Will No More Affect Your Life” will resonate with anybody that has been a victim of bullying. Being bullied can affect you for a long time and you dream of being able to get closure.
The songs Clear The Air and Nightlife both serve as cries for help. Clear The Air features the lyrics “I Wanted To Tell You, I Wanted To Share, Some Important Details That You’re Unaware, I Want You To Listen, I Want You To Care, I’ll Choke To Death If I Don’t Clear The Air” and Nightlife has the lyrics “Don’t Want To Be Like This, Anxious and Angry Or Hopeless and Upset All Of The Time, Unable To Get Back The Feeling I Lost Somewhere Along The Line, I Wear It On My Sleeve and Everyone Sees No Matter How Hard I Try, I’ve Never Felt Worse In My Whole Life” are both lyrics that can strike a chord with anybody who has ever felt down and alone.
Finally I want to talk about the song Shirts. This is the song that inspired me to right this blog in the first place. Very recently I have been going through a difficult patch and have been seriously down. I was at work at the song came on my iPod and the lyrics “I Don’t Feel Like Me, Whoever That’s Supposed To Be, I’m Different Person Every Time I Come Home” really made me wake up and want to get back to being the real cheerful, fun, charming man with beautiful blue eyes I am rather than the miserable, moody, grumpy idiot I had turned myself into.
I find Off With Their Heads To Be wonderfully therapeutic. Whenever times get tough I can just pick out any one of their songs, crank my speakers up to eleven and shout along. I think not only are Off With Their Heads one of the best of the current group of punk bands but also one of the most important.
Now listening to: Seek Advise Elsewhere by Off With Their Heads