Lifetime | Theme Song for a New Brunswick Basement Show
On a recent trip from one end of the New Jersey Turnpike to the other, Jill and I tried to name all the bands that we love from the garden state. This proved to be difficult even with Jess periodically waking up from her nap and piping in that the reason Trenton sounds familiar is because it’s the capital, not because some pop punk band had once resided there. It had been a long day and there are just so many.
I know it’s cool to hate on New Jersey; it smells, the accents are atrocious, it’s fairly dirty and its proximity to New York City is frightening. But here’s the thing; I’ve always loved it. Upon crossing state lines into NJ, I get the same excited butterflies in my stomach that would appear when my school bus would pass by the whale mural on its way into Boston on an elementary school field trip. I can barely handle the certainty that the pretty, bright lights on the New Jersey turnpike only stop when they hit an organized suburbia filled with commuters and strip malls. New Jersey seems filled with endless possibilities and things much bigger than myself. For this horrible misconception, I blame Saves The Day.
At what point my high school love affair with Saves The Day turned into a full-blown love affair with New Jersey, I can’t be sure. But, I’m betting that it was around the time that a boy (whom I undoubtedly had a crush on) said, “Pfft, you’ve probably never even heard of Lifetime.” To which I responded, “Dude, I have obviously heard of Lifetime, I’m just not that into them.” Had I heard of Lifetime? No, of course not. Did I run to Newbury Comics the next chance I got to buy Jersey’s Best Dancers? Absolutely. As soon as I listened, I immediately regretted my response. Lifetime was Saves The Day only better (or, more accurately, Saves The Day was Lifetime, only not as good) which was a harsh reality for my 14-year-old self to face.
I blew my chances with that boy, but I was determined not to be out-New Jersey pop punk band-knowledged again, so I did my research. What I found out was that New Jersey only produced really great bands. It was the type of quick realization that happens when a slew of once unrelated information all comes together and finally makes sense. Saves The Day and Lifetime were only the beginning. Half the bands I had already loved were from New Jersey and every new band the internet led me to, I loved more than the last.
I’d like to say my obsession with New Jersey has stopped with music, but it hasn’t. Somewhere, buried deep down in pop punk lyrics, something has convinced me that I could be a better person there. It’s only a matter of time before I pack up my things and rent a cheap apartment (tenancy at will, if I’m smart) and my rose colored perception of New Jersey becomes a darkened, harsh reality when I don’t immediately run into Chris Conley at a Quick Stop.