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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Average Joe Aspiring -- The Big Idea

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8/10

At the turn of the century, punk was like screamo is now. Oversaturated, with a ton of really, really sucky bands cluttering up the scene. Also, just like screamo now, there was an inordinant quantity of good bands in the Christian punk genre (yeah, there's no such thing as "Christian" music, "Christians in a band", blah, blah, blah. Funny how that discusion hasn't changed either): MxPx, Craig's Brother, Slick Shoes, the list goes on and on. Unfortunately, as the scene tightened and ended, a couple of really good bands got dropped beneath the cracks in the floorboard. One of those bands was Average Joe Aspiring.
Average Joe only put out one full length album, The Big Idea, released by Screaming Giant Records in 2000. I only heard it because Screaming Giant sent a copy to my old radio show at KLSU. I played songs from The Big Idea on air often, but Average Joe Aspiring still broke up, and punk, at least as a popular fad, died (or pop-punk, since it was "pop"ular, whatever, blah, blah, blah. Funny how that discussion doesn't exist anymore). Then dudes started wearing girls' jeans and singing and shrieking like them, too. Personally, I preferred punk, but anyway, today I can still turn to The Big Idea as a great time machine into turn of the century punk's glory days.
Average Joe Aspiring had it all. The musicians were incredibly talented. They could play faster than lightning, but they could also change it up, playing poppier Greenday-like numbers one minute, then playing the next song so quickly, the drummer could only be an octopus. Also, they could do this in the same song:

Listen to Average Joe Aspiring's "Help Wanted"


The vocals and harmonies were are also very pleasant, and the songwriting was great, varied enough to where the album never became monontonous. It also helped that Average Joe dropped in snazzy instrumental breaks any time space was needed. The lyrics were incredibly optimistic and spiritually minded, and the kid riding in the wagon was a great mascot for them.
I keep speaking in the past tense as it's been a decade since Average Joe Aspiring called it quits, but the awesome thing about music is that it can always be in present tense...you just have to be listening to it.
And you can, for CHEAP!
Or you can just go torrent it, you lazy kids! (Funny how that discussion didn't exist back then. You actually had to BUY things. Yeah, I know, there was Napster, downloading one album over the whole night on dial-up, whatever, blah, blah, blah...)

2000 Screaming Giant Records
1. Swerve 1:20
2. Panic 2:26
3. Help Wanted 3:04
4. Homeward Bound 3:08
5. All Sorts of Aimless 4:40
6. Clockwise 3:07
7. Make Believe 4:10
8. Proclaim 2:39
9. Stained 3:03
10. The Least of These 4:03
11. Heartache 3:54
12. Break My Heart 3:36
13. Falling Up 2:44
14. New Creature 4:45
15. He Paved a Way 4:40

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