Modern Baseball are an endearing band; they have personality to spare, and with it they can sell lyrics not many other bands could. They can effortlessly namecheck social media and completely avoid sounding like a bunch of pandering youth-centric marketers turned musicians. Modern Baseball are the dorky, lovable, and eternally lovesick– firmly rooted in the present and unafraid to frame their music in that context. They’re a hybrid of The Descendents and The Get Up Kids for the iPod generation and with their sophomore album, You’re Gonna Miss It All they conjure up the yearning and angst of being young with heart, humor, and a knack for great hooks.
You’re Gonna Miss It All opens with “Fine, Great,” a song that showcases much of Modern Baseball’s musical language– acoustic intros, a full band sound influenced by indie, emo, and pop punk in equal measures, and of course their unmistakable lyricism. The line “I hate worrying about the future, ‘cause all my current problems are based around the past,” comes up time and again in “Fine, Great” with minor deviations and becomes a sort of acerbic, frustrated rallying cry. The vocals themselves have a unique, conversational tone that lend the words a lot of their character, it’s not the voice of an accomplished singer with a great range, but it is a voice, a distinct musical perspective, and Modern Baseball is, for better or worse, defined by it.
“Apartment,” much like a lot of Modern Baseball songs, opens with a slow intro, before launching into an athletically strummed punk rock buzzsaw attack. The hooks are massive; its chorus a dreamy, 50’s influenced sing-a-long. One of my favorite lines in the song is an example of Modern Baseball’s resonant songwriting: “The next time I saw you was in your apartment. Oh, why do I keep ending up here on starlit evenings?” The line is bent and divided to rhyme, all the while espousing imagery to spare, but its the adolescent preoccupation with romantic predestination that makes it ring so true.
So much of what makes Modern Baseball great is based on their most fundamental virtue– they write great fucking songs. Sometimes I wish they made more bold musical choices though, but for now I can deal with them making some, sometimes. “Your Graduation” amps the aggression in a really pure way after so much longing, angst, and intimidation of the opposite sex. The barked cry of: “Bullshit, you fucking miss me!” is a transcendent moment, bypassing the screens we use to communicate and just beingreal. It’s a rush, but it works because of the tonal juxtaposition.
You’re Gonna Miss It All is a great album that bleeds relatability through detail and personality. Modern Baseball mine the minutiae of millennial life for their music, and in doing so they bring to light a lot of things we’d never consider, but remain enveloped in. There was a time when Instagram wouldn’t factor into a love song’s lyrical content, and yet here we are, facing a new world and generation where it is. While the immediacy of You’re Gonna Miss It All is confrontational at times, it’s never anything but honest.