Off Key with Eric D.

Eric D’Orazio

What defines punk rock? Since the ’70s, it has been known as an anarchistic genre, bent on nothing more than smashing the system. Through the ’80s, the genre was split between exposing international injustice and having a lighthearted good time. In the ’90s, punk returned to being dark and pessimistic, only to swing around and become a branch of the pop genre. Now punk rock is in the midst of taking a new turn — today’s punk is Something Corporate.

Forming in the late ’90s, the fiery fivesome that make up Something Corporate have accomplished a lot in the past few years. After signing with punk gold mine Drive-Thru Records, it released its debut CD, “Audioboxer EP,” in 2001. Though its six songs didn’t seem like much at first, it eventually achieved success, producing the indie hit “iF yoU C Jordan” and selling above expectations. On the heels of this success, the band went into the studio in early 2002 to focus on its full-length debut album. After only four months of recording, it emerged better than ever with the masterpiece we now know as “Leaving Through the Window.” Yet barring all the success and praise, the question is what originality the album can offer the punk scene.

For those who need proof of the greatness of Something Corporate’s debut album, all they must do is press play. The first song, “I Want To Save You,” is a sweet taste of what the band is capable of on the record. Its lyrics, dealing with the average but sad life of a girl who wanted to be more, make the song down to earth. In the chorus, frontman Andrew McMahon sings, “I need you, save me too,” and you can tell he really cares. What better way to start off such a moving album than to show a little emotion.

Another emotionally exuberant song on “Leaving Through the Window” is its second track and current single, “Punk Rock Princess.” Being one of the original six songs from “Audioboxer,” many would be led to believe that it is nothing more than a way for the band and its record company to make more money off the same song. This time around, “Punk Rock Princess” is louder and faster than its predecessor. It gets across its message about a girl who just won’t give in to a relationship. Put that to a mix of gorgeous guitar work and McMahon’s omnipresent piano, and you can hear why it has been a fan favorite.

Out of the 14 illustrious tracks that make up Something Corporate’s debut record, by far the most outstanding is “Drunk Girl.” Dealing with the ever-repeated occurrence of falling in love with an inebriated young lady and thinking it’s for real, the song adds an element of serious hilarity to the album. Rarely can you find such a blast of unabashed reality and emotion in one song, let alone one that may pertain to someone you know. The content of “Drunk Girl” is only equally matched by its sound. Utilizing once again the “piano meets late ’80s-esque distorted guitar” formula, it holds its own on the album, being both a tender ballad and a punk rock anthem, not to mention a hit waiting to happen.

All things considered, it is clear that Something Corporate’s “Leaving Through the Window” is one of the definitive punk rock albums of our time. Not only does it display the normal punk aesthetic of being lovelorn and tired of an unending and sour social situation, but it does so while using a mixture of classical and conventional instruments to do so.

In turn, it makes the album both tender and purely rocking, not to mention mainstream but decidedly underground. In simplest terms, it is the greatest thing to happen to punk rock since Green Day came around, and it just goes to show that Something Corporate is something great.