Oh, After Romeo.
Wherefore art thou After Romeo?
Deny my love for loud rock music and refuse my passion for guitars.
I feel like I’m in my own *gasp* forbidden love story.
Can this love ever be?
Can I let go of my heart’s desire to listen to heavy riffs for even just one night (with you?;)
Dare I spark an unbridled passion of listening to pop that I may or may not have secretly yearned for many a night?
Of course I can.
Don’t be silly, world.
As I’m sure I’ve typed before I’m pretty eclectic in my musical tastes and while I haven’t actually talked about pop music (especially a boy band…or is it boy group? I always get that confused), I decided to take that plunge…as the cool dudes of After Romeo sing.
Actually, the song is called, Free Fall.
And, just to clarify, they’re not literally talking about a free fall, because, well, first of all, that’s kinda sorta dangerous. And, secondly, Tom Petty already sang about this same topic in the 90s. (And I’m freeeeee…..free fallin’….skateboarding anyone? You know you always watched that video on VH1’s Pop-Up Video!)
Swiftly moving on…where do I begin?
So, I first heard of these guys when I went to Costco two weekends ago. (For the other Muslims fasting on Tumblr, here’s a Ramadan challenge for you - going into Costco and not being tempted by the food samples. Yup, only seven (arbitrary number) more hours until you can eat! Ha! Besides buying the usual things from Costco, you know you also go to eat a sample! Fact, not opinion.)
Anyway…I saw this video being played on the TVs. My initial reaction went something as follows:
1. Boy group. singing. They look young - mainly all blondes/light brown hair, one guy looks of Asian descent (hey, that’s pretty rad), and this one guy has dark hair that reminds me of Lostprohets’ Ian Watkins’ hair in that one interview… that’s pretty cool. (I’ll post it after this. Hi-larious interview…well, to me, anyway.)
2. Color me confused - there’s so many colors and styles! Someone has a bowtie! And this one guy has a really colorful jacket!
3. Ooo - jumping! I like the jumping and the simultaneous camera movements.
4. Lastly, of course, me being me, thinks to herself, ‘dude, this is like a G/PG rated dancing and happy version of the video, Lostprophets’ Bring ‘Em Down, of course, minus the whole fighting, blood, and post-apocalyptical concept… okay, I’m probably thinking this because the whole gang is running through an abandoned warehouse in that video, too.’
5. Then (Oh Em Gee, you’re not done, yet, Maria?), thinking of warehouses and dancing makes me think of comedian, Fahim Anwar's 'Step Up' comedy bit on YouTube. I’ll post the video afterwards. Where do those DJs come from in those abandoned warehouses? Do they live underneath the warehouse sewer and crawl/come to life when there’s a dance battle? Like TMNT did? But…wait,who’s Splinter? Hmmm…
Wait, Mar, hold the phone, these were really your thoughts?
Yes, these really were my thoughts - okay, I just thought of the Splinter thing, but everything else was fairly accurate. True story.
One thing about me (if you didn’t know already), is that I probably make pop culture references to things that I’m sure most people will not get or understand (smile and nod?). I also am very random (I’m the same in real life, too, hah….this is like that one time..’ or ‘real quick - I have a story’- Family Guy, anyone?). And, of course, I also know one too many useless facts about pop culture, like Milhouse said in The Simpsons, 'It's that thing. That thing that I say!'
If you’ve gotten this far, I’m proud of you. We’ll totally high 5 later.
Let’s go back to the song
After my initial reaction, I eventually found out the name of the song and who was singing it. Then, after listening to the song a couple of times, nature ran it’s course and I’ve had this song stuck in my head on and off for approximately…let’s see, if we carry the 5, divide by 17….for two weeks.
T’is a record, world, t’is a record. Being the music lover I am (contrary to a listener, by the way:), I conducted some research on who this group was. Two webisodes and a few vlogs and videos later (thanks, YouTube), I come to the conclusion that not only is the group very talented, humorous, and all around, very real and honest as individuals and as artists, but I also really wanted to this song with everyone.
I really like it!
It’s happy, it’s fun - and similarly to a lot of the rock music I listen to (e.g. Lostprophets, even some Black Veil Brides), the message of Free Fall is very similar. It’s not as — what’s the word - lovey-dovey? as some other boy bands and/or other pop artists sing about - this song really has a powerful overall message.
Free Fall is about taking that risk, that chance, or whatever it is you want to do in your life.
It’s about not giving up on your dreams or your passions.
It’s about just going out there and trying to accomplish what you feel you are set to do in this world.
The song, I also eventually realized has some great metaphors. You can really visualize someone standing on top of a mountain or quoi-ever building, and just thinking about what choice to take. Okay, building might sound creepy - but regardless, the song has a very valid point. You may face obstacles, challenges, an/or bumps on the road of life, but the important thing is that you can always speed up and take that next detour instead of the exit.
Anyone can take an exit - anyone can throw in that towel and call it a day. However, it takes a really special and strong person to be able to overcome what they are scared of and find either a new solution or attempt a resolution to his or her problems.
That’s a really great and powerful message, and how often do you hear ‘rat race,’ in a pop song? Um, never. So, kudos to the dudes for penning that - unlike other boy bands, I believe they actually write and record their own material, which is pretty great, as well.
So many people are entertainers - they sing, dance, perform on stage - but to be artists, which is what I think these guys are working on being, is something pretty special.
While I honestly have never bought a boy band record (as I’ve typed before, I like tune more than anything else, and I usually don’t care for all of the tunes by boy bands), this group really made me think about a few things.
While I think it’s hard to be a rock musical artist, as it’s not in the popular music category, and you have to play and write your own material, I think it’s also a great challenge to be in the pop world. This may be as tough or even harder than being a rock musical artist (or, perhaps, any artist for that matter), because, if you think about it — you’re playing your own voice - your entire body, is, in a way, an instrument that is crafted and perfected a certain way. Your voice and your body is what is trained, toned, and through practice after practice, determination and, I’m sure a lot of patience, do you get it right.
And, in a way, even after all this hard work, an artist may even not be good enough. Look at all those folks who are here one minute and out the next. Or, consider all of the thousands of individuals who are trying to make it big or have even a mediocre following but we, as general radio listeners, have no idea who they are because his or her music isn’t played on the radio (That’s what the internet is for, Maria. Yeah, yeah, I know, but I think there are more listeners than lovers of music and art in the world. Is it just me?)
It’s certainly an interesting concept and I’d love to talk to people in the pop industry about it - how cool would that be? I wonder if pop artists also agree with Billy Corgan’s (lead singer of Smashing Pumpkins, formerly Zwan, then formerly Smashing Pumpkins) regarding that whole 'dumbing down principle'? Does that actually exist?
I’ll post the article link from Ultimate Guitar after this, too.
It’s questions and concepts like this that really fascinate me being an outsider to the entertainment/music/art industry. Maybe I’m wrong, but I also feel sometimes a band’s management or what’s ‘hot’ or the ‘in’ thing at the moment can cause people in this industry to change, be it you’re playing pop music or rock or whatever floats your boat. And, what if the band doesn’t want to cater to the needs and/or wants of their management or what’s ‘in’? Is that it? Is it either the highway or continuing on a road that you may not want to be on because it will take you to a town where everyone but you know will know who you really are?
So many questions - no answers…le sigh.
I’m sure this post is getting too long and too deep, for you all, so to conclude, I’ll say:
1. Free Fall is catchy. The video is also cool (see above). It’s very positive and it makes you want to smile :). And, when I mean catchy, I mean really catchy - Catch Me If You Can, like in that one movie with Leonardo diCaprio catchy.
2. The band is cool. They can sing and dance very well. I’m really impressed. :) While I think I’m a couple of years older than the oldest member (Jayk Purdy? Hey dude, btw), After Romeo, in general, seem like really nice and friendly guys. You can see they have this great camaraderie and are really passionate about what they do. As a music lover, I’m all about watching band interviews, etc…and seeing their YouTube channel videos was a lot of fun and different for me because I’m so into rock related things. The guys also are humorous and I think it’ d be fun to talk to them, They’re down to earth and seem very humble. This is such a rare trait found in so many people these days. I’d love to interview them about my ideas above - what fun and how interesting that would be. :) (I know, I know, most people want to know all about the personal lives of an artist, but with me, I’d rather talk to someone about their work - I’d like to talk to people about their lives, off camera and/or not for the purpose of an interview, but as a friend.:)
3. Recommendations - I would recommend this song to anyone who likes pop music, and/or fun, dance-y (new word, coined) music. I’d also recommend this to anyone who was a fan of Varsity FanClub (VFC), which some of the previous members of the band were in before creating this one. I’d also recommend this song to anyone who just wants to hear something different than what they usually listen to. As you know, I’ve talked a lot about post hard core as of recently, and while I was a bit apprehensive to post this on here, I thought why not? Music is music - art is art - creativity is creativity. Let me freefall into my writing and write a post. :)
Are you still with me?
So many thoughts and ideas are swirling around in my head - I guess it’s good I went to Costco that day. (Anyone else really want some samples, now?):)
As always, if anyone has any insight on my pop related or any of my questions, feel free to message me! I really want to learn more as I feel so strongly about art, music and the overall integrity of an artist - any artist - be in pop, rock, rap, blues, jazz, country, classical, etc…
Lastly, I’ll leave you with this - art is through the eye’s of the artist. I’d like to think of writing as an art, too, even though I know it’s often times too much for folks to read.
If you read this,thank you, as always, for reading and allowing me to share my ‘art’ with you. :)
I hope you all can one day have the courage to free fall and take that plunge to do whatever you want to do in life.
Believe in yourself, believe in your dreams.
PS - Post Script - One of my next posts will be about Pakistani rock (wait, what Maria?) ——let’s take a musical journey around the world. Who’s with me?