Monday, September 17th, 2018

Joyce Manor – Think I’m Still in Love with You

Barry Johnson checks out what’s new at The Singles Jukebox…


Ian Mathers: I can’t entirely erase my suspicion that this is a prank played by my brother where I accidentally rate an old song from his adolescent horde of pop-punk records that I could never quite tell apart. But this one does, on the one hand, feature a singer who sounds like an Americanized version of the singer from Idlewild, and on the other has lyrics that keep threatening to be slightly more complex than the form demands, so ultimately it’s a toot from me.

Taylor Alatorre: “Is Joyce Manor Pop Punk Or Emo” — the greatest thread in the history of forums, locked by a moderator after 12,239 pages of heated debate. The adult response is that it doesn’t matter; the Get Up Kids are synonymous with third-wave emo yet penned one of the great pop choruses of all time in “Ten Minutes,” and New Found Glory were in the first Emogame. If Joyce Manor are the NFG of the revival scene, this is akin to one of the midtempo jams from Radiosurgery, though informed more by Guided by Voices than the Ramones. It’s clean and uncluttered and designed to frustrate the sort of people who got mad at the whole stage diving thing. It’s nice. Self-limiting, but nice.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: Joyce Manor continue to stray further from the highly melodic and palpable energy of Never Hungover Again for a song that places most of its worth in telling a story through lyrics alone. People will mistake this for “growth.”

Vikram Joseph: If you trace a line between the aggressive, sub-two-minute shards of Joyce Manor’s early material and the streamlined punk-pop of “Think I’m Still In Love With You”, there are two constants: a dead-eyed brand of humour which splits the difference between sincerity and savage self-deprecation, and their unusual, instinctive mastery of melody and dynamics (which was even present amid the wreckage of their self-sabotage of a second album, Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired). Most fans will probably agree that the sweet spot on that trajectory was 2014’s Never Hungover Again, but, five albums in, they’re still churning out plenty of sharp, hooky bangers. The production sheen might have worn off a little personality, but equally, it renders the harmonic power-chords of the chorus in pristine high-definition melancholy. And if you’re going to sound painfully ’90s, then Pinkerton and 24 Hour Revenge Therapy (the intro is so Jawbreaker) are just about the sweetest kind of pain you can find.

Alfred Soto: This emo act boasts the hook-filled horrors of Weezer, down to the line “Take a bunch of pills and crash in to me.” Why, is that all it takes?

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: An inadvertent victim of the fallacy of imitative form — it’s a well-struck portrait of being stuck in the tropes and patterns of both an individual romance and the romantic narratives of society that unfortunately sounds like a mass-produced punk-pop love song.

Ashley John: “Think I’m Still in Love with You” sounds fuzzy in the way that memories get when trying to string them together to make the version of the past we wish happened. Joyce Manor’s delivery is quintessential pop punk, the uncertainty of “I think” repeated over and over providing the self-doubt that serves as the backbone of the genre. It’s simple and just as fleeting as the love it describes. 

Jonathan Bradley: I first heard Joyce Manor when I saw them open for Against Me! at the Metro a few years back, which is a great way to first hear a pop-punk band. Joyce Manor songs don’t vary a whole lot in sound — they play a bright and yearning, lightly distorted California power pop — but it’s a good sound, and their songs tend to be about two minutes long and their albums tend to last about 20 minutes. I’m not saying they’re the perfect rock band, but… go back and read each of the things I said about them. This one is built on a riff with some sharp, dynamic turns and features slick call-and-response harmonies. Some things just work.

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