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Lifetime | review | punk | Lollipop
(Decaydance/Fueled by Ramen)
by Tim Den
Like the legions of kids who've been shitting themselves for the past year and-a-half over melodic punks Lifetime's reunion, I welcomed the band's comeback record - their first in almost 10 years - with big doses of optimism and sprinkles of cynicism. Here was a band that, somehow, captured a generation of hardcore/punk/emo loyalists' love and adoration through irregular song structures, trying to return to a sound - a naivete, a specific time period's musical climate - in 2007's clusterfuck of a MyLastFMspaceBlogger world. Were they gonna sound dated? Insincere? Out of fuel? Was Lifetime's pure legacy gonna be tarnished like that of so many other reunion records?
After repeated listens of this new self-titled full-length, I'm happy to report that the answers are "no." Despite what has come and gone in the musical landscape in the last decade, Lifetime have proven that some things never go out of style. Like honesty. Cuz when you listen to this record, you don't ever doubt the band's intentions or prowess. This is what they did best in the mid-'90s, and it's what they still do best. The passing of time has not effected the songwriting whatsoever. Like the longevity of greats such as All or Lagwagon, Lifetime almost function in a bubble, unaffected by the outside's perception of who they are, hype's dictation of what's cool this month, or even their own understanding of what the band have achieved in the past. They simply exist as a punk band, working on songs the same way they did when they were just starting out, with all heart and a natural instinct for penning anthems.
Maybe I'm biased. Lifetime's music was an integral part of my life while I attended college in the mid-to-late-'90s. Their mixture of hardcore fury, punk speed, emo melodies, and chorus-less songwriting greatly altered my view of music, and to this day, I get goosebumps whenever I listen to their back catalog. And after just a month with this new one, I know it's up there with the classics, because it makes me feel the exact same way. The ultimate test of a "comeback band" is if they can evoke the same reaction from listeners as their past did. Unbelievably, Lifetime have done just that. What's more, when I listen to this record, I don't think about my teenage years or the old Lifetime albums: I think about the present and how, years from now, listening to this is going to make me remember life in 2007, just as listening to Hello Bastards and Jersey's Best Dancers reminds me of beautiful youth.