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One More Music Review
Adam Elayan ’24

Adam Elayan ’24 is a journalist, leader of the Big Blue Sports Network, and a regular contributor to The Flex. His popular column, often focusing on music, and life, can be enjoyed here. This time, he shares his last Op-Ed, One More Music Review and reminds us of our own sonic youth. Adam will be attending the University of Texas at Austin in the fall, and will no doubt be a bestselling author shortly after.


One More Music Review

Most of the time, I listen to music that goes way over my head. I have no insight to give on Joni Mitchell’s lyrics, no idea what’s so impressive about the way Miles Davis plays the trumpet. All I know is that I kind of like how some of it sounds. I get pop punk, though, or rather, pop punk gets me. In pop punk, every song is about being 18. Every singer is sick of their parents, crushing on a girl that doesn’t know they exist, nervous about going to college. They’re obnoxious and immature, whining choruses in the most nasally croon they can muster. Their lyrics, beyond being simple, are often embarrassingly corny. But I don’t care. Honestly, I like it better that way. I’m 18—embarrassing myself in earnest is what I do. I don’t know anything, and when I listen to pop punk, I feel like that’s okay. I can just roll down the windows, turn the music up, and feel the bliss of going through it all. So, while I’m still 18 and still have an audience of Pingry parents who tell their kids to ask me how to join The Flex, I have time to review one more pop punk album. 

Going down a music rabbit hole is tricky. As artist names become unrecognizable, production quality gets worse and worse until eventually you’re listening to music in another language that sounds like it was produced on a typewriter. Given punk’s history, it would make sense to assume that this trend holds true for the pop punk of the late ’90s and early 2000s—even the most celebrated skate punk albums can sound pretty rough, while hardcore is another story altogether. However, the pop punk rabbit hole is one that I would 100 percent recommend falling into. Thanks to labels like Drive-Thru, relatively underground bands were able to make great-sounding records that still hold up today. One of the most underrated of these small bands is Midtown, and they delivered their magnum opus with Living Well is the Best Revenge

Living Well is the Best Revenge is an album made for the last week of high school. On the surface, it sounds like a sugar high. Tyler Rann and Heath Saraceno’s riffs are addictive, and they work alongside high-energy performances from the rest of the band to give the album a kind of euphoric sound that can only be found in pop punk. Beneath the saturated sonics, however, are Gabe Saporta’s lyrics. Brimming with angst, confusion, and longing, the band’s chief songwriter is able to distill the twilight of adolescence into 11 tracks, taking us through every phase along the way. 

A few months ago, I sat to watch She’s All That with my dad. The writing was terrible, and the acting wasn’t much better, but we both saw something in it. When the credits began to roll, my dad turned to me and said, “It really gets at something about being a teenager,” and I couldn’t help but agree—sometimes, that’s all a movie needs. From my point of view, people spend a lot of time dreaming about being 18. When we’re young, all we can think about is how great it will be to be seniors—we’ll be driving our own cars, making our own bedtimes, kings of the school. When I tell adults how old I am, they almost get offended, as if nobody should be able to have such youth. So we all listen to pop punk, hoping to be on the precipice of life if only just for a few minutes, or a few more. I’m there right now, and Living Well is the Best Revenge is the soundtrack I needed.




Portrait by Flex photographer Aiden de Asla '24


For a tarot reading, contact the author: Adam Elayan '24