Daydream Enjoy Nothing (2017)
I grew up when pop punk was, arguably, in its heyday. My middle school and high school years were a never-ending search for the latest and greatest records from up-and-comers, some of which have since gone on to become Grammy-nominated, platinum selling artists. Our summers revolved around these records. It wasn’t a proper get-together if “Sticks and Stones” wasn’t blaring through a boombox. It wasn’t a proper trip to the beach without “Ocean Avenue” singalongs in the car. I can still sing you every word to “Say It Like You Mean It” in my sleep.
At this point, I’m admittedly pretty far removed from this scene. The records and bands from those glory days will always be a part of me, but I’ve yet to discover a whole lot of fresh blood worth shaking a stick at. Maybe like most other things it’s a cycle, and after 10-15 years some excitement is coming back around. Or maybe it’s the fact that I’m turning 30 this year and subconsciously (or not) trying to cling to some carefree aspect of my youth. Either way, 2017 has already delivered enough proof that pop-punk still has some tricks up its sleeve for a guy like me to connect to. California’s Daydream may be the rabbit in the hat.
The Menzingers have already released the catchiest record you’ll hear all year, but the second track on Daydream’s “Enjoy Nothing” (“Bored”) gives a lot of those songs a run for their money. “Do you remember who used to be when you were innocent and young?” is certainly not a lyric you’ve never heard before. In fact, that’s kind of the case with the entire record, but the trio sells it with conviction. This is a record made for an open car window or a summer gathering on the beach, and it turns out lyrics that may be a tad bit recycled can resonate quite a bit with an almost-30-year-old. The fact that it’s 100 percent DIY effort (self-recorded and released) makes it not only a perfect fit for our modest little website here, but also that much more impressive of an output.
“Fumes,” another album highlight, reflects on the need to re-discover the simplicities (/important things) in life – “Sometimes I just forget that we’re all dying / No matter what happens in life I’ll be six feet down with you / When my dad calls I pick up, quicker now than ever / Let’s go and shoot the shit, old man—I wish this could last forever.” “Holiday Bar High School Reunion” reflects on sneaking into bars before legally allowed, and meeting up at those same bars with the same people as adults. It’s an interesting commentary—reuniting with people from your younger days in more “age-appropriate” situations. “Just walk away from me now / We’re just two old friends with nothing to talk about” [he] sings in the second catchiest chorus on the record, pointing out that no matter how much you fight it, inevitably, everyone changes. So do the simple thrills.
But on “Enjoy Nothing,” Daydream finds comfort in that fact. “We wrote a record about learning to accept the people we’ve become. Sometimes you feel like nothing matters—like the things you loved don’t give you the same spark they once did,” they wrote on release day. And that relatively basic sentiment is probably why this record connected with me so much from the get go. In the same way that The Menzingers did earlier this year, Daydream have captured a personally overwhelming feeling and done so through fast and loose pop-punk. That change in spark they reference, that need to pivot as you get older—it’s difficult as hell to cope with. But knowing that it’s universal, through music like this, is something to take comfort in. Maybe it’s okay to sit back and enjoy nothing sometimes—whether you’re 15, 30 or 50, those feelings won’t last forever.
Daydream may not be the easiest band to find (and having had experience in a band that was also notoriously difficult to Google, I can relate…) but they are certainly worth the extra effort. And in case you’re still not convinced, they’re giving away the entire record for free on their website. It’s not on any of the major streaming services so go give this a download and experience it the way you did in the golden days, and the same way I did: burn yourself a CD, pop it in your car and take the back roads with the windows down. You can thank me later.
RIYL: The Menzingers, Punchline, I Am the Avalanche