Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Brian Thorn at The Magic Shop, New York City, during CMJ week in the fall of 2012
There's a trade-off when it comes to youth. Your complete lack of context (one of the trade-offs, actually) is that you think that you're ruling it pretty hard - that you're getting a very front-loaded end of the deal. You feel like you're getting away with it all, smuggling all that good out of those formative years, when really, you wouldn't trade to get those years back for anything. Sure, there are minor aspects of them that you might like to have back from those high school or college days, but satisfaction should likely not have been met prior to turning 25 years old. It's possible, but that story alone would be more heartbreaking than any that could be told about those stupid, long-gone years. Really, you let yourself dangle out there in those infested waters. You were lame and you were under-developed. You were speechless most of the time, going as unnoticed as you possibly could, just trying to get to the weekends and summer vacations as quickly and painlessly as possible. Looking back on those years, we seem to attach meaning to certain things that we never did when they were happening, but that was just like our idiocy and our undeveloped mind to do that.
Chris Pope, of the Los Angeles band Blonde Summer understands what those younger years were good for. They were good for piecing together our concept of halcyon days, or compiling an appendix of what we might always find ourselves looking back fondly on. Blonde Summer songs are great for that inner nostalgic who's still got a firm grip on what they hated about the old days too. There's no desire to go back to them in the song, "Graduation," where the main protagonist says, "Never comin' back again/Unless I'm dead/Gonna haunt some kid." Sounds like that might be some payback, but there's a balance that's struck here, as most aspects of Pope's writing are still largely sunny and tanned. Without a question, there were good times when our skin was more elastic and our abs were toned. There was something about how new love made us feel that's been hard to replicate since. We do long for certain things, but Pope makes us understand that we'll see the drawbacks, with enough perspective. We'll appreciate the high times just as much as they were hard times, more than anything else. They're tough to distinguish from one another. They both smell a little smoky, like a beach fire. They are both salty to the taste and they both leave you a little dazed. It's a problem that here, doesn't sound so back. It's kind of what we had thought all along.