“Please Press” is a feature that runs on Mondays, detailing the albums that Modern Vinyl would love to have on the vinyl format. If you have a vinyl release that you just can’t live without anymore, either leave a comment below, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
When discussing the recent news about The Starting Line’s “Direction” getting a vinyl pressing, a Twitter user asked me the following, “Is it blasphemous if ‘Say It Like You Mean It’ is not my favorite Starting Line album?” And that question got me thinking, because to many fans, that really would be a blasphemous notion. The debut full length from the Philadelphia-based band is the fan favorite, complete with the song that’s come to define the group, “The Best Of Me.” But is it really the greatest album the band has produced?
After re-visiting their catalog, it’s a simple answer: no.
That honor falls to their second full length album, and now, the only one to not yet be represented on the vinyl format: “Based On A True Story.” The 2005 record, released by Drive Thru and Geffen, wasn’t another album of just pop music, which is what I’d consider “Say It Like You Mean It” to be. It was something much more sophisticated and something that took both Kenny Vasoli’s storytelling, along with The Starting Line’s general polish as a band, to an entirely new level.
After a short intro, entitled “Action,” the album kicks of with “Making Love To The Camera,” a track that announces the rock-based intentions of the album with authority. Following about 30 seconds of acoustic guitar, the song explodes, unleashing a type of sound that was almost entirely absent from their debut: pure rock. Vasoli sings, “Will there be a picture left to snap; Or will my face just detach itself; and get caught up in the public eye?” The theme of fame and what an individual can do to deal with it is a topic that suits the brutally honest frontman, as he continues to attack it in the second verse, adding, “And if we blossom as high as northwestern trees; I swear I’ll still be the same as I was as a seed.”
In “Inspired By The $ Sign,” the band takes the theme of fame and applies it to the recording process in a well known “middle-finger” to their record label. The track has Vasoli screaming, “Get to the point;
Get it across; To the boys at the top of the ladder, I’m climbing up,” before hitting the second verse with some more blows to the industry, singing, “This is a call; from my cage; through the bars.” Only a talented group could insult their bosses, while writing a great song in the process.
Of course they did end up writing a hit, even if the general public didn’t quite embrace it. “Bedroom Talk” is the song that should of taken the group to the next level, but for whatever reason, it didn’t. A chorus that leads off with “I’m gonna tear your ass up like we just got married” successfully combined the edgy lyrical direction Vasoli wished to travel in, while keeping the pop-based sound that made “The Best Of Me” such a hit. The lyrics could be looked at as cheesy, but the hook is one that saves any amount of immaturity.
Where this album truly separates itself, though, is in the back half of the record, beginning with “Photography.” The six-minute track takes a simple idea and expands it to a rousing epic, complete with yet another big chorus. “I’ll swing from a streetlight; as I will sing oh, oh, oh; I’m stuck in the meantime; but we’re so oh, oh, oh close,” does sound like pop-punk, but crafted by experts of the genre. And by the time their guitarists, Matt Watts and Mike Golla take over in the latter half of the track, this ballad becomes a must-hear.
In “The B-List,” the band hits on the subject shown in the cover, film. My personal favorite begins with “Take another hundred names and put ’em on a list; And curse yourself for ever watching it; I’m looking to have to see it to the end; Cause the fastest rat is always gonna win.” The lyrics tell the story of a young actress, who attempts to balance the pursuit of fame with the artistic nature of her business. Sound familiar? It sounds to me as if the band may have projected just a little of themselves into the girl’s situation.
They keep the momentum going with “The World,” yet another song that should have been a summer hit, before hitting listeners with the classic ballad, “Ready.” Vasoli sings, “Let it be heard by those taking an interest; Not for the critics holding their ears.” Again, the idea of fame is touched upon, this time in a direct message to fans. He continues with, “I’ve been waiting for answers; Dancing in circles, making me sick; I’ve been chained like a tiger; To hundreds of liars all holding hands.”
What the band projects throughout the record could be seen as anger to some, but to me, it seems more like clarity. And as you look at Vasoli’s career arc since then, it’s quite clear that he’s never been interested in the fame section of the musical business. I mean, he didn’t even list himself in the album notes as a member of his latest project, Vacationer. When looking at the majority of the pop-punk albums, a little honesty is welcome by me and hopefully to listeners throughout the music world.
A pressing of “Based On A True Story” would be a tricky one, because of the fact that Geffen doesn’t seem to press too many of their past records to vinyl. For example, look at Rise Against’s “Siren Song of The Counter Culture.” The album has a large demand for vinyl and goes for a large amount on eBay, yet no one has been able to secure the rights as of yet. And if the rights to BOATY fall to Drive Thru, well, that will be just as tough considering their history. But “Direction” has been pressed and hopefully, it will sell out, which would help any future cases of Starting Line pressings.
If a pressing ever does occur, how about a 2xLP set, with the original artwork and gatefold packaging. Some white vinyl to match the film reels on the sides of the cover would look excellent, as well.
Please Press Based On A True Story.
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