Modern Baseball’s legacy as dynamic modern emo
Nothing leaves a more sour taste in a music snob’s mouth than the mentioning of pop-punk and emo. I’ve found myself holding my tongue more than once around other concert-goers in fear that such blasphemy would turn them off from great bands like Jeff Rosenstock and Joyce Manor who deserve their attention. Modern Baseball is one of the few groups I’m comfortable as announcing as emo right from the beginning because of tracks like “Hiding.”
What “Hiding” does to make it so unashamedly emo is by enveloping the listener in its vivid poetry and ironically confessional lyrics given the title. Guitarist, Jake Ewald, says he wrote this song as a “life update from where ‘Coals’ ( a track off the band’s first record) left off.” On “Coals,” Ewald was just entering college feeling excited but unwittingly foolish. In contrast, “Hiding” delves into the disillusion his old-self had from the surreal perspective of post-graduation.
The plants died young, like all good things
But I wish my small self-had known
How much water to use”
I love this line because it’s a beautiful analogy to relationships and how over-eagerness can run people off. The imagery feels childish and innocent, drawing out the differences between his current-self and his old-self in a clever way.
The track follows a simple chord progression with every critical incision made into Ewald’s psyche within the lyrics reflecting an amplification of sound. This is done through seemingly random guitar plucks and explosive but quickly subdued drumlines accumulating into a release of all the subdued energy climatically.
It’s in the layering of all the different strings, percussion, and synths that makes Modern Baseball so much more dynamic and multidimensional. Although this is a commonly used song-structure for many bands, the layering really is what nails it making it such an intimate track while also being a pit-starter at shows. We all hope the band returns from its hiatus to continue innovating the modern emo sound.