There really isn't too much to say that I didn't already say in my review. So here's the review for you again, as the biggest surprise of my list is that this isn't number one.
Unconventional seems to be You, Me, and Everyone We Know’s middle name. First came their unconventional journey to their first album, including troubles with Drive-Thru Records founder Richard Reines, who after offering to manage the band barely supported them and did nothing but cause trouble for the rising band. Then the band put exposure before profit by releasing their first two releases for free, a rarely seen business model for a touring band. From there, the band signed to Doghouse Records and put out one of the best pop-punk albums of the year, commonly using a surprising brass section to make their record unique from the oversaturated pop-punk music scene.
The opening one-two punch of “Shock and Awe” and “I’m Losing Weight For You” almost brings the knockout blow just three minutes into the album. The two tracks are both related musically and in their message. The slower, harder hitting “Shock and Awe” brings anger towards the band’s hardships, while the faster, more playful “I’m Losing Weight For You” turns that anger into satire and fun. The band instantly comes off as one that sincerely cares about their music rather than their image. The use of trumpets combined with the brutal statement of “Come to think of it Payne you too, you screwed our fans so we screwed you” brings up their selfless sentiments that their fans come first in their careers. Once you get the will to finally take these first two tracks off repeat, you will be rewarded with one of the best tracks on the album with the reconstructed fan favorite “Livin’ The Dream”. Surrounded by syncopated guitar rhythms, the band stays on their lyrical theme of their musical careers. Even though they can barely afford touring and being a band, they continue because they are living their dreams.
Surrounded by the small slip-up of “A Bigger Point Of Pride” and the larger stumble of “The Puzzle”, the middle chunk of the album is one of the best stretches in music this year. “Bootstraps”, the first song released, gushes with positivity as the band tells you to “pick yourself up by the bootstraps / just ignore them when they laugh”. The title track features a driving melody along with more of the band’s customary wit with lines such as “I tried to wake up too fast / from what must have been a two year nap / then I hit my head / and it was back to bed for a while”. “James Brown Is Dead” shows a band getting out of their comfort zone creating a number that is a modern version of the 70’s smash hit “Raining Men” led almost purely by brass (including a trumpet solo) and percussion. “The Next 20 Minutes” seems monotonous during the first verse, before bursting out into easily the strongest vocal performance on the album, and maybe one of the most emotional vocal performances this year as Ben Liebsch passionately yells out the bridge. Between comparing girls to buses and stating how it upsets him that alcohol saved his career, the lyrics are also among the strongest on the album. The middle stretch concludes with “A Little Bit More”, an easy crowd pleaser lead by whistles and filled up by an easy repetitive chorus.
After the boring “The Puzzle”, the band puts everything together to create the superb “Moon, Roll Me Away”. Ben is again vocally at his strongest, low harmonies shining below his higher vocals. Horns surround the repetitive gang vocals before Ben gets the last few words as the song fades away. You, Me, And Everyone We Know breathes new life into this genre both lyrically and musically, sounding different than almost every other band out there. However, who knows how the band is going to sound next? Maybe next release they’ll have an entire orchestra, leading their valiant efforts to create great music.
1)Shock and Awe
2)I'm Losing Weight for You
3)Livin' th' Dream
4)A Bigger Point of Pride
5)Some Things Don't Wash Out
7)James Brown is Dead
8)The Next 20 Minutes
9)A Little Bit More
11)Moon, Roll Me Away