on alkaline trio + the blood guy vs. vomit guy dichotomy
Today, we talk about music, but first ! I put out a new zine this week and if you’re a paid subscriber you’ll be getting it in the mail! If I’ve sent you stuff before or you’ve given me your address, you don’t have to do anything BUT if I don’t have your address and if you want it please fill out this form as soon as you can!
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Ok onto your irregularly scheduled music newsletter.
It is my god given right as a person from Chicago to have an opinion on Alkaline Trio. As a 23 year old girl, however, I also feel it’s my god given right to baselessly hate them because mean old punk dudes like them. Sort of a “the band on the t-shirt my enemy’s wearing is also my enemy” type situation. But as I move further away from my roots wanting to fight any male Chicago venue employee and bartender, the more I believe I could let Alkaline Trio into my heart and mind.
As usual, I wasn’t sure where to start so I tweeted. Usually there seems to be some kind of consensus among fans, but I didn’t find that so much here. Instead I found my dear friend Ivan making fun of Skiba lyrics and everybody recommending a different pre-Crimson title. Thankfully, the very kind David Anthony came to the rescue and instead gave me a top 5 / bottom 5 of the discography so I’m just gonna listen to those songs. Finally fulfilling my desire to listen to good music, but also maintain some hatred in my heart for a Kind Of Guy Who Listens To Music Like This. A win win.
David Anthony @DBAnthony@mirandareinert @JoannaNewSum41 The best could literally change day to day, but in trying to make it representative I'd go with these Best: Cringe Crawl Warbrain Sadie Fine Worst: Draculina Krystalline Live Young, Die Fast Sweet Vampires In Vein
January 25th 2021
I like that this one starts with a “Ye-AH” that’s always fun. I guess this is what I expected. It’s late 90s pop punk and I can enjoy that. I have occasionally been known to enjoy a song by Blink-182 and other Riot Fest Big Font Dude Bands.
We also have our first mention of blood which I think will be a theme based on the titles of these songs.
I like this one better. The bass rules. I’m learning this band has two different singers. I have to say I prefer this man. I watched this live video to figure out who was who and he sounds very nice, actually, which isn’t how live videos always go for singers. My pal Mikaela said in your teens you like Matt songs and in your mid-20s you like Dan songs. She’s being proven right on this second song I’ve heard.
No blood in this one but prominent mention of scars, a blow through the head, and vomiting. This is a band of bodily fluids.
This song is the bastard child of Blink-182 and The Gaslight Anthem. Is that because it’s just a little more downtempo? Is that because ‘59 will only ever trigger thoughts of The ‘59 Sound in my head? Yes to both. But I don’t think that should be held against me. Ending the spoken word intro with “this sucks” evokes a Titus Andronicus moment (the reigning champs of a good fuzzy spoken word intro) that won’t commit to the bit fully.
That said, I like this song. Two and a half minutes is the perfect length for a song (not something Titus Andronicus is known for).
No blood. No extraneous bodily fluid mentions.
Blood returns! I think I like this song best. Maybe. The voicemail-esque part…. I can do without it, but I like the instrumental over it and I am enjoying it. Reminds me of my favorite genre of music, mid-2000s radio rock. I love it.
That all said, god, what is with this album art? Surely cursive and spooky haunted house vampire font look good together, right? This band is so weird. Or maybe just 2005 was weird? I don’t know. I never liked My Chemical Romance, I don’t vibe with the visual.
For the official record, one more blood mention. Guns and stabbing and gagging, oh my!
Another wack visual. Pills in the shape of a heart for an album called This Addiction…. come on. I like this melody, though, and I’m fond of the drum intro. It’s nice. I think I find Dan’s voice more generally palatable. Or maybe everybody has just turned me against Matt Skiba preemptively it’s really hard to tell.
However, more importantly, this song has solidified an Alkaline Trio dichotomy for me here.
Dan is a vomit guy.
Matt’s a blood guy.
The two genders?
Finally we get to the bad songs.
Okay so actual sound wise this isn’t that different, but what is going on here? Why invoke Alice in Wonderland in your Castlevania slash Van Helsing fanfiction song? Absolutely embarrassing even for 2010.
Blood fetishist Matt Skiba strikes again. Stay tuned for my own genderbent Dracula in Wonderland fanfiction musical next week on the Something Old Newsletter.
Holy shit it’s real lmfao
“We kissed away our memories
And fucked away the pain
We went out for some coffee
And then we did it all again”
Matt Skiba is 44 years of age! Bring back the blood fetishism! This song is almost bad enough to ruin my favorite spelled-with-an-unnecessary-K song.
I bet Matt Skiba could spell confusion with a K and he could like it.
Live Young, Die Fast
Nothing funny to say about this one. This song just sucks.
This song should be illegal. It’s like.. Boys Like Girls for adult weirdos.
This song is also very bad with very bad “whoa-oh! whoa-oh!”s. This is bad in the exact same way as when Fall Out Boy is bad. But I also think it’s kind of a beautiful ending to this newsletter. This song evokes both blood and vomit, thus making it the logical conclusion of everything Alkaline Trio is. Blink already had piss and cum covered so Alkaline Trio picked up blood and vomit. Someone had to fill in the gaps.
In summation, I think I get it. It’s weird and gross and sounds like lots of different bands song to song, but I think I get it. There wasn’t much fan consensus and I think I kinda get why that is based on these songs.. well, at least the first five. They all sound like music for a similar type of guy, but not the exact same type of guy. That can be applauded. I think it’s a lot funnier to be the kind of band that starts putting out insane music later in your career than it is to just… fizzle out making just ok rock. It sure was more fun for me to hear people dunk on them than it is to hear about how, like, Blink is actually subversively feminist through irony or whatever.
Total Blood Count: 12
I was going to do a something new segment about how much I love Bugsy, but I’ll maybe do a dedicated new songs/new albums newsletter at a later date. They don’t need to be subjected to this.
Miranda Reinert is a zine maker and law student based in Philadelphia. Follow me on Twitter for more on music and other things like when I get to be on the Endless Scroll Podcast: @mirandareinert. I also just opened up a paid tier of this newsletter which for $5 a month (or $40 a year! what a deal!) you’ll get free zines as I make them and one upon sign up! Wow! But as always, thanks for reading!