Your 20’s are a raucous, boozy time. You go crazy, you drink a lot, and you lose your mind a little bit. But what happens when the party’s over? What happens when the beer’s gone flat, all the guests have left, and the music’s been turned off? The latest album by Philadelphia’s own The Menzingers, After the Party explores this theme of growing up and leaving all of the party behind while still trying to escape a mundane everyday life.
“Oh yeah, Oh yeah everything is terrible,” sings vocalist Greg Barnett on the opening track “20’s (Tellin’ Lies).” A perfect opener that sets the tone for the rest of the album, about leaving your youth and past behind and realizing you have to head into an uncertain future. This sentiment is also shared on the first single, “Lookers,” another fantastic track about youth, running away, and having to head into that uncertain future. “Always running like Dean and Sal, Always waiting on a freight train, always looking for a story to tell.”
But maybe the present is as great as it seems. On the brilliant track “Midwestern States” the band tell a story of two kids in a relationship struggling for a place to live, struggling to pay the bills since their “worthless diplomas we got from worthless universities” aren’t paying them. But the couple find resolve in their strong relationship and a desire to leave the Midwest for the almost mythological Los Angeles.
So much of this album is focused on leaving the past behind for an uncertain future. This all seems to come to a head on the title track, in which vocalist Greg Barnett sings “After the party, it’s me and you,” surrounded by dynamic guitars that really send the message home. It’s a nostalgic track; you can tell Barnett and the band are looking back fondly at their tattooed and boozy past but realizing that the party has to end someday. It’s not somber, it’s realistic.
This album is just such a trip for me. My 20’s aren’t over yet but I find myself in a position where I relate to this album’s feelings of putting the past behind and heading towards an uncertain future. I think it’s something that we can all identify with. I love the Jack Kerouac references in “Lookers.” I love the band’s well-refined take on pop-punk developed after a 10 year career. I love how descriptive and introspective the lyrics are, how they just perfectly describe exactly what the meaning of the album is. I just love this album.
I give After the Party a easy 5/5. My first perfect score.
Check it out here and if you enjoy it enough, consider buying the album and supporting the band.