Where do I begin? Last night I got to see one of the albums that shaped who I am played out live. First off a few years back the Rx Bandits took a hiatus with no idea when or if they would ever be back. This year though, they decided to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of The Resignation. This is an album that changed the way I think about consumerism, government, life, corporations, and music. I didn’t think this album meant as much to people, but after last night, I was dead wrong.
Like most albums I have bought, I still remember purchasing The Resignation. The year was 2003 and I was still in high school. During the summer, my family decided to go to King of Prussia mall for some last minute school shopping. On the way out, we went across the street to the Best Buy. Now I have heard of Rx Bandits before, I liked “Analog Boy”, “Infection”, and all the other songs I heard on Drive Thru Records DVD or compilations. Sadly I could never find Progress in stores. Remember I was in high school, ordering on the internet wasn’t my way of buying. Also I had to get my parents to use their card to buy anything online. To some this may seem ancient.
Since Rx Bandits was a band I sought after, I looked in Best Buy and to my surprise they had The Resignation. I think it was about $7.99 and included a DVD. As soon as I got in the car, the c.d. went into my disc man. Remember those? Right away I was thinking, “Wait, this isn’t ska?” Thinking I would hear more upstroke guitar playing in the next couples songs and didn’t, I thought, “what is this?” What it was was new and fresh, but I didn’t realize it yet.
The drive home I started to listen closely and dissect the lyrics. I realized there was something more here and it wasn’t about girls, like every other Drive Thru Records band. The first song, “Sell You Beautiful”, sets the tone for the album. A topic based around being who you are and not trying to be something you’re not. Moving through the album, I would hear horns, but they were placed sporadically that it added such a new dynamic I think ska bands are starting to do now. Also the use of keyboards added a whole new element.
To me this album is Rx Bandits’ darkest album. Matt Embree’s lyrics sound like he is just frustrated with the current state of politics and music. You have to remember that during this time we were in a war and the radio waves were saturated with untalented acts. I think the song “Newsstand Rock (Exposition)” explained it best.
“Now turn on the radio and hear what it’s saying,
Another hollow candy coated melody about nothing,
Easier to sell it don’t require you to think,
Dumbed down drool, a facade suck-cess,
We’re still buying everything that they’re selling.”
It should be mentioned that, when I started listening to music I never really dug into the history of an album until Rx Bandits. This album was recorded live and at the time I didn’t know what that meant. For those that don’t know, a live album is when the musicians just go into the studio, start playing, and hit record. Now the closing song, “Decrescendo”, must had to be interesting to see being recorded. Right when the drums start, it is like a tsunami hits. This song knocked me off my feet when I heard it. I even used it to make a commercial of this album in my multimedia class in high school. I must say it is a perfect song to end an album.
Watching this album being performed live was surreal. Those Bandits still have it. Even the horns were present last night. Not to mention after performing The Resignation, they came back on stage to play a few other fan favorites including “Infection”. I think any fan would have been pleased, and if they missed out, they really missed out. It was also great to see a much younger crowd. It goes to show that Rx Bandits’ music will be timeless and will be passed on from generation to generation.
Since this album’s release, I’ve grown much older. I have seen and done a lot, but Rx Bandits got me through seeing the lies that befalls us and come out only bruised. That might have been the last album I bought at Best Buy for I try and not spend a lot of money at chain stores. Granted we all do, but Rx Bandits showed me that those companies don’t care about the buyer, only their money. Also Rx Bandits helped me see what bands play for the love of music and not the love of the almighty dollar. I think I can tell in a band’s songs if they are really playing from the heart or not. Lastly, Rx Bandits were the band that got me into reading into a band’s lyrics. Any time I purchase a new album I sit in my bed, press play, and follow along. I owe that to Rx Bandits for they had a part in shaping who I am and I will never forget that.
“I never slept so soundly than with your breath on my neck.”
Listen to The Resignation here: http://rxmusic.bandcamp.com/album/the-resignation