I’ve done my fair share of railing against pop punk because it is, ostensibly, the worst genre in music – the proverbial bottom floor of the ocean, wherein strange creatures exist under impossible living circumstances.
But I have to give it to pop punk: it has a way of setting its hooks so deep within its constituents that they feel the need to “defend” their genre poison of choice.
But it is, to me, one of those intrinsically youthful types of music, with a certain time-based quality to it. Like an expiration date, because anyone over the age of, say, 25, who continues to willingly put pop punk in their ear holes is not a person with whom I would like to share a cold brewski.
That said, I can find it in my heart to forgive them their misdeeds and, at the very least, understand why they are invested in a particular music brand on an emotional level. If you grew up listening to something in your teens, wouldn’t it put you on your ass after catching even a hint of the stench of your favorite club where you saw your favorite band, perhaps years after the fact? There’s been countless moments where I’ve heard a word or phrase or seen the name of a band from my formative years and my physical response to it is, I don’t know, lying on the ground in public for an indefinite amount of time because I cannot bear the crushing weight of how little I cared about anything but myself in 2006.
To me, pop punk represents everything youthful and ignorant. Though I personally did not partake of my perceived naïveté of the genre, ever, and sort of resent those who find redeeming qualities in it (because why), there is very much an overwhelming figure who stands alone in this same spotlight.
Enter John Gold: Central Florida Childhood Icon.
My brilliant friend and roommate Brenna said tonight that John was, for everyone who paid attention to local music in the area where we grew up north of Tampa and west of Orlando, the geographical “localization of our adolescence.” He is a vastly underrated singer-songwriter with otherworldly talent, and I’m proud to call him a friend of mine.
John’s 2008 album Hours is a record comprised of 15 tracks that, perhaps even against my own will, have vivid and colorful memories attached to each. I’ve seen him perform live more than I can count, and in the years after his debut Cryptiquotes, John began playing the songs from Hours. I feel like this may be one of the few records that I can conjure up entire summers worth of memories just by reading a single song name. “Let’s Not and Say We Did” is written about a girl I was friends with for a while, a relationship that didn’t work out and didn’t end in the best way. But the fact that the song exists, was written and recorded and will exist forever, is everything to me.
How does one narrow down or puree the years of memories, the countless shows,
into a single, digestible post or thought? I can’t. Never could. So much so, in fact, that any attempt to do so would trivialize the enormity of my memories from that time period.
It might be selfish, but I’m keeping these for me – even if only for the fact that maybe those memories are now so embellished in my mind that they weren’t as good as I perceive them to be 5-8 years later. That seeing them in the light now would somehow taint how good it felt to listen to Hours on repeat for days on end, and take pride in the fact that someone I knew was on iTunes and played shows that spoke to me in a way no other musician could. In a way that no other musician since then has.
Thank you, John. I’m happy I knew you, then and now.