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Fireworks' "Oh, Common Life" Reviewed

my daddy's dead

my daddy’s dead

Pop Punk as a genre is emo without stupid song names. A catchall catechism, with all male bands playing to High School juniors a decade removed from them. And as the class of 2005 graduates with make it big albums like the Wonder Years The Greatest Generation and this one, Oh, Common Life,  by Fireworks, they shake off the teenagerdom, indeed they shake off post-teenagerdom, and leave their audience to catch up with them.

Detroit, Michigan’s Fireworks have been knocking on stardom since 2005. In 2012 they played every show on the Warped Tour, in 2014 they are opening for the Wonder Years on pop punks biggest tour to date. Treated like conquering heroes on the latter tour, despite the new album being less than a month old, Fireworks seemed to want to do what perhaps rock should do: share and comfort.

Oh, Common Life tries to do the same thing. After years and years of non stop touring and with time clicking by as they go from town to town, time and loneliness is the currency with this strange and depressing but melodic and clever album.

An album with a song called “Play ‘God Only Knows’ At My Funeral” has a lot to live up to and it does quite that, not always, sometimes it sounds cookie cutter modern rock-y, but it gets there often enough. It feels like the misery loves company loves to sing it away. “I’m half the man my father knows I should be, and I can feel, I can feel her getting over me.” Yes, it is a lost love that is breaking singer and lyricist David Mackinder. That and something else, the nearing thirty Act II conclusion singing for tens of thousands of kids who aren’t there yet.

What’s upsetting David is aging, “all these lines on my face” while “never thought I’d just end up” pinpoints where the problem is: his career. Or perhaps it is just daddy issues, in these songs father’s are seriously disappointed in their sons which they shouldn’t be because it is their sons who are gonna bury them. In “The Only Thing That Haunts This House Is Me” -with its addictive tempo change at the end, it isn’t girls or even family, what is bothering David is deep inside himself.

By the last song, “The Hotbed Of Life”, the band have grown up but don’t want to. Their childhood calls back to them and they want to return to it, like a rug that stops the door for slamming. What’s wrong with the guy? Why this upsetting, heartbroken song after song after song? Some girl?

“I used to hang grocery bags up and down, up and down my arms
To impress my mom, now I use them to carry boxes out of my dead dad’s house
So I started writing songs about this girl
But now that girl, she’s somebody’s wife.”

Grade: B+

 

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