September 30, 2020

Teen Suicide: It’s not ‘Just a Pop’ show

By Sean Reis
Arts & Entertainment Editor

CUB Alt’s new home, the Decker Social Space, transformed into an intimate music venue on Tuesday, Sept. 12, when the reincarnation of CUB Rat held its first major concert of the fall semester. Organized by CUB Alt co-Chair Max Falvey, a sophomore communication studies major, the event featured three alternative rock bands: Lunch Ladies, Florist and the evening’s headliner, Teen Suicide.

Opener Lunch Ladies delved into its heavy-hitting catalog, but Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Florist, which took the stage as the meat and vegetables on a Teen Suicide and Lunch Ladies sandwich, brought the verve down a couple of notches with a soothing set. The crowd was in awe of Emily Sprague’s cute vocals and personal lyrics.

Florist primarily played music from the band’s debut album, “The Birds Outside Sang.” It has a somber sound that is complemented by the poetic lyrics featured on the album. Specifically, one bittersweet beauty called “Dust Inside The Light” was performed toward the end of Florist’s set.

“I heard / Water / Running behind the trees / But there was no river, nobody, not even a stream,” Sprague sang. “Maybe if I keep running, maybe I can find the rain.”

For those familiar with Teen Suicide’s music, Florist was a perfect pick to pair with the headliner. Teen Suicide has been known to release a style of music similar to Florist’s, complete with chill productions and angsty lyrics. However, the band’s live performance on Tuesday departed from its typical emo aesthetic. Teen Suicide treated the College to heavier versions of its original tracks.

Led by lead vocalist and guitarist Sam Ray — also known for his solo project, Ricky Eat Acid — Teen Suicide showcased unmatched energy onstage. As Ray led Teen Suicide’s charge, a bassist, a drummer and another guitarist raged alongside him. Together, they proved they were unafraid to hit the crowd with emotional feel trips whenever the moment was right.

Ray leads Teen Suicide through a set featuring highs and lows. (Sean Reis / Arts & Entertainment Editor)
Ray leads Teen Suicide through a set featuring highs and lows. (Sean Reis / Arts & Entertainment Editor)

Teen Suicide played a mixture of songs old and new, but one that stood out was “It’s Just a Pop Song” from the band’s sophomore LP, “It’s the Big Joyous Celebration, Let’s Stir the Honeypot,” released last April.

The track begins as Ray asks, “Where do your loyalties lie? And who gets my royalty checks when I die?”

Although “It’s Just a Pop Song” utilizes ambiguous, alternative lyrics at times, a deeper meaning about an artist’s struggle to produce art while still making money shines through, especially when Ray reaches the chorus.

“I guess that I should sing it / But I’m scared my heart’s not in it,” Ray sang. “It’s just a pop song / It’s just a pop song.”

In the same way “It’s Just a Pop Song” walks the fine line between art and entertainment, Teen Suicide’s performance featured both blasts of fun energy and somber spells of artistic integrity. With help from Florist and Lunch Ladies, as well as CUB Alt, Teen Suicide’s show was filled with emotions of all natures, energy off the charts and, of course, music, which set the bar at what will be an altitudinous standard for the fall semester.

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