The Front Bottoms are an indie rock group formed in 2007 out of Woodcliff Lake, N.J. Fronted by lead guitarist and vocalist Brian Sella, The Front Bottoms have released five studio albums and six EPs since their formation. With each record, The Front Bottoms have increasingly solidified their status as a pop punk group with a cult following.
Many would argue that the group’s success is derived from the raw and relatable sound they produce with each track.
Comparable to a millennial grunge style, their lyrics, though emotional and occasionally disheartening, provide a slice of life accompanied by mesmerizing instrumentals you won’t hear from many mainstream artists.
The charm of The Front Bottoms is their commitment to staying true to themselves, despite their steady increase in fame and popularity.
The Front Bottoms’ commitment to the garage band scene is highlighted in the band’s most recent EP “Needy When I’m Needy,” and even the casual listener can see their true angst-filled spirit at work in the two-track record.
The first song on the EP entitled “Joanie” is a testament to the pop side of the band’s pop punk image. The song is a tale of lost love with a catchy chorus and fast instrumentals that compliment the reminiscent lyrics. After opening with a melodic string of guitar chords, Sella sings a captivat- ingly angry opening verse.
His voice increases with loud intensity as his reflective regret progresses during the verse, but then softens when singing the very poppy chorus, “If only you could hold me my sweet, sweet Joanie, I know I’d be so brave right now.”
This pattern continues in the second verse by using an uptempo drum beat with plenty of cymbals to accompany Sella’s angry lyrics.
However, this anger is broken up towards the end as Sella turns to the honest, confessional side of The Front Bottoms, which resonates with so many.
“You ever think that maybe I could be one of those things that you hate at first but eventually learn to love and then trust and then touch and then cut, yeah, I bet you will.” Ultimately, the high energy and passionate lyrics makes “Joanie” a standout hit.
Conversely, the second song on the EP, “Tighten Up,” certainly represents their original punk nature. The song has a building progression as Sella’s voice solely opens the first few seconds, followed by guitar, drums and then keyboard to create a standard rock sound.
However, the rebellious lyrics seem to defend the downtrodden and contribute to the punk rock element of work: “I don’t care if you people like me. It won’t make a difference if you don’t.”
Sella follows suit with a chorus that rejects pity and sympathy: “Don’t feel bad for me, no, don’t feel bad for me. I won’t feel bad for you.” However, unlike “Joanie,” which is catchy enough to be played on Radio 104.5, “Tighten Up” shows the darker side of their work through disheartening lyrics and rowdy instrumentals. Despite this difference, “Needy When I’m Needy” succeeds by showcasing both sides of The Front Bottoms’ gripping pop punk style.
Andrew Heller is a fourth-year student majoring in English with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at AH804286@wcupa.edu.