Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Playlist: Something Corporate

[Playlist is an attempt to distill my favorite artists to 80-minute compilations. If someone asked me to burn them a mix of the bands featured here, I would give them this collection.]

With the recent announcement that Something Corporate would be reuniting for Bamboozle 2010, I figured that now would be a perfect time to reevaluate SoCo's legacy. For a few years, Something Corporate was one of the shining gems in the Drive-Thru Records roster. They played piano-laden power-pop that kids really, really liked. Their tours got bigger and bigger, they got called up to the big leagues (MCA/Geffen), and then they seemingly broke apart. Sure, they called it a hiatus at the time, but I don't think many people thought SoCo would ever reunite. The members simply went off on divergent musical visions.

First guitarist William Tell, unsatisfied with his low level of songwriting input, left to establish a solo career (to uneven success... although "Radio Sounds" is an absurdly catchy song). Then pianist/vocalist Andrew McMahon and guitarist Josh Partington left to form Jack's Mannequin and Firescape, respectively. When JM blew up, it seemed like SoCo essentially no longer had a reason to exist. Jack's Mannequin was more popular, wrote in the same style, and featured the two primary songwriters from Something Corporate. Having worked in a record store, I can say from firsthand experience that more recent waves of teens who swear by Everything in Transit and The Glass Passenger have never heard Leaving Through the Window or North.

Which is a shame. While I don't identify with their sound as much as I did as a teen, SoCo still strikes me as the better band, nostalgia aside. To that end, I've assemble a playlist - a few songs from each of their major full-lengths (not counting Ready... Break) and eight rarities. You have to understand; SoCo's run was kinda brief, but they did manage to leave behind some solid songs, many of which didn't even end up on proper albums. This was one of the first bands to truly thrive on the Internet. By the end of the run, the band didn't even bother officially releasing a lot of songs, since the Web enabled their fans to get them anyway.

I've left off some of their better known tunes - "iF yoU C Jordan" and "Punk Rock Princess" do NOT hold up well, but I think this mix plays through OK.

1. "Hurricane," Leaving Through the Window
2. "I Want to Save You," Leaving Through the Window
3. "I Woke Up in a Car," Leaving Through the Window
4. "Straw Dog," Leaving Through the Window
5. "Good News," Leaving Through the Window
6. "As You Sleep," North
7. "Only Ashes," North
8. "Me and the Moon," North
9. "Break Myself," North
10. "21 and Invincible," North
11. "Forget December," It's a Punk Rock Christmas
12. "Watch the Sky," North U.K. bonus track
13. "If I Die," Ready... Break
14. "Letters to Noelle," online
15. "Walking By," Audioboxer
16. "Globes & Maps," Leaving Through the Window
17. "Konstantine," Welcome to the Family [This is generally acknowledged as the best SoCo song, yet it was never widely released.]
18. "I Don't Want a Job," online [Part of me wanted to end with "Konstantine." But part of me wanted to go out with a peppy number after three mellow ones in a row.]


Sam Fran said...

A friend of mine could play "Konstantine" on the piano and it thoroughly ruined it for me.

Jessica said...

Josh Parington is not a part of Jack's Mannequin. I don't know where you got that from.