The Dream Is Over - PUP
This year, I had a particularly tough time in choosing what album got to bring home the top spot. That being said, I’ve had no struggle in finding the words to describe the constant (yet pleasurable) musical assault that both of these albums deliver. I would be remiss to not mention the runner up as both had profound impacts on the perception and enjoyment of my surroundings. Invent, Animate’s “Stillworld” is a musical masterpiece, housing intricate rhythms, and large atmospheric guitars. My only qualm is that it isn’t longer. No artist (or album for that matter), however, has spoken to my current state of habitat as PUP.
The Dream Is Over.
The guys in PUP are well known for delivering a high energy, rambunctious performance while atop the stage. The opening track “If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, Then I Will” presents a beautifully blunt caricature of spending too much time with your best friends. Stephan depicts the progression from being so irritated that “Everything you do makes me wanna vomit”, to wanting to get your hands on a power drill STAT.
A perfectly seamless transition into “DVP” is everything I could have asked for. Depicting the manic struggle of someone dealing with a vicious cycle of alcoholism while trying to mend the fragments of what remain of a failing relationship. Again, Stefan is able to vocalize such raw emotions with a lyrical grace that is envied by many.
Above all, this album is an audible mural of one’s 20's. It boils over into an aggressively apathetic articulation of everyday life. Lines such as “And every time when I go back to my apartment/ All I wanna do is get stoned/ And I'm sick and tired of blacking out on my carpet/ And waking up all on my own” & “I just wanna be something. Never thought I’d be nothing at all” depict the overwhelming feeling of being trapped. To be concerned with where you’re heading, but feeling powerless to change it.
Not to say that this album nothing but doom and gloom. Far from it. PUP takes pride in their Canadian heritage, hosting a pair of songs on the album discussing the trials and tribulations of the Canadian wilderness. “The Coast” is based on an old Inuit story called, “A Promise Is A Promise”. It is the tale of how a young girl’s parents make her promise to never cross the ice alone in the winter. When she breaks this promise, the ice broke apart and the terrible monsters below swallowed her into their realm for all of eternity. Though even without this explicit information, the lyrics depict the dangerous and precarious lives of northern Canadian fishing towns.
I could go on for days about this album (so if you just wanna talk about how good PUP is, I’m always available), but there’s one last song I want to talk about. The closer. “Pine Point”. It is haunting, with a strip-down beginning featuring just Stefan and his guitar before building into a massive sound scape. Pine Point is an abandoned mining town in Northwest Territories. It was established barely long enough for a single generation to move through. When the mine closed in 1988, the entire town was either demolished or relocated. All that remains of Pine Point now is a cemetery, and a small sign saying “Welcome to Pine Point”. This idea of having your past erased, not being able to visit the places you once knew... it’s terrifying.
The last words on the album are “I hope that you know what you’re doing”, and I couldn’t agree more. Isn’t that what we all hope for each other?