Transit – Listen & Forgive
Record Label: Rise Records
Release Date: October 4th, 2011
I’ve been listening to the genre of pop-punk for a few years now, but didn’t really get into it until the spring of 2012; I mean, I was always into bands like Fall Out Boy, The Wonder Years, Fireworks, The Academy Is, New Found Glory, and Blink-182, just to name a few. Boston, Massachusetts pop-punk band Transit is one that’s garnered a lot of buzz in the last couple years, especially with third record Listen & Forgive, released in 2011. I recall listening to this record when it was released, but for some reason, it never stuck with me. Well, in the spring of 2012, I decided to buy a copy of this record and see what all the fuss is about. I’m glad I did that, because this record never left my iPod for months, and it’s become one of my all time favorite records, for a lot of reasons. The biggest reason I enjoy this record so much is the overall instrumentation; in the genre of pop-punk, there is not a lot of variety, but that’s not why most fans enjoy it. I know I enjoy pop-punk for the “feels” that the lyrics give off. The lyrics are definitely pivotal in the genre, and if a pop-punk band does not have solid lyrics, I can’t really get into them. While Transit’s lyrics are fantastic (and that is a reason I enjoy them a lot, too), but because their backing instrumentation is actually quite interesting and different. They combine the genres of indie-rock and pop-punk to make for something very unique. I’ve noticed other bands who are doing this, too, such as Daytrader (who sadly broke up last year), and Into It Over It, who are great bands as well. Some songs on Listen & Forgive are very “pop-punk,” while others are much more mellow and have that indie sound. Going along with Transit’s lyrics, vocalist Joe Boynton is great, too; his voice is very distinctive, despite it being rather nasally. It takes a bit getting used to, especially if you don’t listen to a lot of vocalists like that, but his voice is great. Vocals are another thing that makes certain pop-punk bands stand out, and since the instrumentation isn’t all that unique most of the time, the vocals have to deliver. Transit succeeds in all three areas – lyrics, vocals, and instrumentation. They’re easily one of the best pop-punk bands to come out in the last 7 years or so. Well, why don’t we start to listen to this record, and hopefully you, the reader, can forgive me for writing a rather long introduction. Get it? Listen and forgive? That’s the album name. That’s why it’s funny.
The record begins with “You Can’t Miss It (It’s Everywhere),” and this song really starts the record off with a bang. It starts off with a very memorable guitar riff with guitarists Tim Landers (who also does backup vocals), and Torre Cioffi, while Boynton stepping up to the mic. As with this song, and plenty of others on the record, there are lots of memorable lyrics on this album. That’s one thing that bothers me about a lot of bands, because their lyrics aren’t necessarily memorable or they lack any lasting value. Most bands seem to write lyrics that really are relatable at a certain point in someone’s life, like adolescence, or early adulthood. Well, I’ve grown out of a lot of stuff I used to listen to, because the lyrics don’t hit me the same way. I digress, however. One lyric that really hits me in the “feels,” as I mentioned earlier, is “With the best of intentions / I can’t forget how you took away the happiness from my life / Like all the city lights broke at the same time.” That’s the pre-chorus, and it’s fantastic. The chorus itself is wonderful as well, and this is a great track to start off with record with, because the chorus is the song title itself, “You can’t miss it / It’s everywhere,” and I feel like that’s the band trying to say that you can’t miss this record. And to be honest, you can’t miss it. These guys are one of the biggest pop-punk bands in the genre right now, and for good reason. “You Can’t Miss It” is definitely one of the most “pop-punk” songs on the record, and like I said, it’s a great opening track, because it really gives you (the listener) a feel for the band, and the barrage of great music continues with second track “Long Lost Friends.” This has a very memorable chorus, and whatnot, but it’s a rather mellow track. The verses are certainly much more mellow, and place emphasis on Boynton’s vocals. This is easily one of the best tracks on the record, and also contains VERY memorable lyrics. It’s about what the title suggests, losing touch with your close friends. I can certainly relate to this song, especially at any point in my life, since I’ll always have friends. Third track “Listen & Forgive” is the title track, and this track is great as well, but this leads me to my first criticism – this song sounds quite like “Long Lost Friends.” Not exactly, but it does have that formula. The verses are mellow while the chorus is very catchy and infectious. That’s true for a lot of songs on here, but it does work very well. One thing I like on this song, though, is that backup vocalist /guitarist Tim Landers has a bit of time to shine on this song, and his vocals do compliment Boyton’s because his are a bit deeper and aren’t so nasally.
Fourth track “All Your Heart” is a very interesting track for one reason – it features Patrick Stump. That alone is a reason to check this band out. I could talk about this forever, but Fall Out Boy is one band that definitely influenced the pop-punk bands of today, specifically with 2003’s Take This To Your Grave, so to have Patrick Stump on your record is pretty cool. It sounds like a cool idea, right? Well, the ending result is slightly disappointing. Yes, it’s great that Patrick is on this song, and he appears towards the bridge, but it’s his guest spot that’s disappointing. The song itself is great, but Patrick just merely repeats a few lines and doesn’t really do anything else for the rest of the song. It’s a “Big-Lipped Alligator Moment,” essentially; for those of you who have not seen any YouTube by the Nostalgia Critic, that just means it’s something that you see/hear once, and while it’s never explained, it never appears again. Patrick just kind of comes and goes. He doesn’t really contribute anything to the song. It’s like he’s there just to be there, and it’s rather disappointing. It’s cool he’s there, because his vocals are awesome, but they could’ve done so much more with that. After that song, it seems the record does go into rather bland territory. No, the songs are not generic, and in fact, they’re still great, and have that “Transit” sound, but they seem to blend into each other after awhile, because they sound so similar. There are moments here and there, and lyrics that do stand out from each song, so it’s not to say they’re all bland and boring. They’re certainly not boring, but it’s just hard to tell the songs apart sometimes. There are a couple of songs that do stand out very nicely, actually; sixth track “Cutting Corners,” and seventh track “Skipping Stone.” This is a nice one-two punch, because the former is a very “pop-punk” track, while the latter is an acoustic track that shows Boyton’s vocals much more stripped down, essentially. After these two tracks, there aren’t too many other tracks in the last half of the record that stand out too much. Well, they all do stand out in one way, but they sound so similar, which is the only criticism I have with this record. Eleventh track “Over Your Head” is easily my favorite track on this record, mainly because it’s got my favorite lyrics, and really just sums up Transit in a nutshell. It takes both sounds they have, the pop-punk and indie, and blends them together in a great way. This is a very memorable track, and it’s great it’s at the tail end of the record. Last track “The Answer Comes In Time,” is a great album closer, honestly. This is another song that sums up what Transit is all about.
This record is a fantastic pop-punk record, and one of my favorite records of all time; it’s memorable in every single way, but I did mention that the last half of the record does slip ever so slightly. It’s not their fault, and it doesn’t hinder the record too much, but it can get a bit redundant, to say the least. If you’re a pop-punk fan, though, this is a perfect record to check out, especially for Patrick Stump being in “All Your Heart.”
I could not agree more with many points in your review of this album. When it first came out I sort of brushed off the hype that a few of those around me had given to this band. I had heard of them but never really took the time to sit down and really indulge in their album. I finally purchased their album and listened to it through trying to absorb it but one time through was just not enough and which I will agree the album opened up very solid and the after their seventh track "Skipping Stone" the second half sort of flew by in a blur. Now im not sure if it was because "skipping Stone" was an acoustic track and sort of killed the driving vibe of the first half but after this first time through I put the album down for a few days or so. Upon putting it back in again it hasnt left my playlist this album grew on me and it stayed especially his voice and after further listening to his lyricism I was blown away this was one of those albums that had to be listened to more than once to really get a clear view of it and once you did it was an album that could speak to you. I respect this bands innovation instrumentally as well they have succeeded in completely standing out from the recent pop punk wave, its very indie and spacy sounding at times and really illustrates a theme for the album. Guitar melody after melody is just as catchy as they are vocally and the drums on this album are a key component in keeping everything moving just right. Excellent album that will definetly stay in my playlist and be one of my all time favorites.