BMOWP Classic Album – Do You Know Who You Are?
It’s impossible. You simply can’t go back again.
BMOWP Classic Album
Do You Know Who You Are? by Texas is the Reason
You hear it over and over again. You simply can’t go back again. The past is the past, you have to let it go. Nothing in the world will recapture the times you’ve lost – no amount of memorializing and nostalgia tripping can deliver the same richness and spontaneity as that distant memory you’re struggling to keep alive.
But sometimes, you can get close.
For me, it happens every time Texas is the Reason’s sole full-length, Do You Know Who You Are?, comes on. Any song. Any lyric. Hell, just seeing the cover. It’s 1996 all over again. And there I am, standing outside the Pomp Room, waiting in the cold, anticipating another show by another band that I’m totally in love with.
I identified, like many who grew to love music during the post-hardcore pre-emo stage of melodic indie rock, with Texas is the Reason’s attitude. Music to play music, breaking free of the typical stereotypes and rocking without abandon. Texas is the Reason was the cool kid in school who didn’t try to be cool. He was just real. You know. Real cool.
It was emo (at least, the last 90s version of the word, before it became the asshattery it is now) and hardcore. It was mainstream and indie. They were courted by major labels, held up as one of the best of the underground. They put out just a handful of songs – one four-song EP, one full-length, two 7” splits – and nothing was bad.
Do You Know Who You Are? was the peak of the genre. It was also a high-water time in my life, with the emotions of being in a band, of being recognizable for the first time, of falling in love with music in a way I’ve never overcome. It was where I formed my first true opinions, where I started to gain direction on what I enjoyed and would drive to become. I stopped eating meat. I had my heart broken twice, using it to fuel a new love: writing. It felt like I was living. Like life had finally woken up. Like I finally had an identity.
I went to college the next year. A new songbook opened. It was 1997. My tastes began to hone themselves. But Do You Know Who You Are? still spoke to me. Stronger than ever.
And then, just like that, it was over. The players split, moving to other bands, none of which recaptured the spirit outside of drummer Chris Daly’s Jets to Brazil. Hundreds tried to replicate the feeling – thousands of garage rockers, searching for inspiration, looking to recapture the energy. The band even got back together, nearly ten years later, for one night. Thanksgiving. 2006. New York City.
I’m sure a lot of the people in attendance tonight felt an electricity in the air. I’m sure some exclaimed that it was the best they had ever heard. A few new fans might have been made, a few old friends impressed, a few lives touched by music that had lasted longer than the band. Music that transcended the scene. Music that just rocked, without pretensions, without classification.
But for the most part, I’m guessing everyone was given a peek into the past. They realized that things weren’t as perfect as they are now made out to be. They saw their broken hearts, their scars long healed over, and made peace with the idea of reliving that time. They watched Texas is the Reason, for most certainly the last time, and moved on.
With the music still playing, you can look at it with new ears. As if you were hearing it again for the first time, without the pretenses of nostalgia clouding the sound. It still sounds good. No. It still sounds great.
And that’s why, long after the memories of 1996 have passed, the album will still live on in select circles. It’s an amazing album that managed to break through the typical tired sound. It has aged well.
It’s a testament to what most bands hope to accomplish. To still be known, to still be loved, long after the melody of nostalgia has finally escaped.
“I’ve sung the same song/I’ve sang it for way too long/And now the melody is finally escaping me.”
“There’s No Way I’m Talking Myself Out Of This One Tonight (The Drinking Song)” – Texas is the Reason