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Music / The Front Bottoms

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An indie band from Bergen County, New Jersey. Originally formed in 2006 as a three piece consisting of guitarist/singer Brian Sella, drummer Mathew Uychich, and keyboardist Brian Uychich. Since 2010, the band has officially consisted of just Brian Sella and Mat Uychich. They currently play and tour with Tom Warren and Ciaran O'Donnell. They’re notable for their somewhat humorous self-deprecating lyrics, using voicemails from friends in their songs, and being from Jersey.

They've released two albums and an EP on Hoboken label Bar/None Records, 2011's the Front Bottoms, 2013's Talon of the Hawk, 2014's EP Rose. They then released two albums on the Pop Punk label Fueled by Ramen: 2015's Back On Top and 2017's Going Grey, along with two EPs: Needy When I'm Needy (2016) and Ann (2018). Prior to signing, they self-released 2 eps and 2 full-lengths.


Their music provides examples of:

  • Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable: The combination of Brian’s North Jersey accent and his tendency to elongate words can lead to this, especially in live performances where he changes lines without changing the music.
  • Audience Participation: A few songs, most notably the chorus to "The Beers", where Brian tends to let the crowd sing over him. There's even hand gestures. "Maps" gets handclaps
  • Black Comedy: The video for "Backflip" shows Mat and Brian having happy times with buddies, playing "hilarious" pranks on their friends that result in the friends' deaths (i.e. covering a guy with silly string and setting him on fire), and making shit-eating, "oops", expressions at the camera afterwards. The whole effect is pretty funny.
  • Break-Up Song: Most of their songs are about dysfunctional or failing relationships in one way or another, but there are a few straightforward examples:
    • "The Feud" is about a couple where the girl is in love with someone else, but is trying to get her boyfriend to break up with her first.
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    • "West Virginia" is a lament about still being in love with an ex who's never coming back.
    "Love of my life, gone forever
    Love of my life, gone for good"
  • Conveyor Belt Video: The video for "West Virginia" has the camera moving continuously from room to room in a house party without the appearance of cuts. When it revisits a room, things have clearly changed off-camera.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The speaker in the voicemail in the bridge of "Swimming Pool" manages to drop the F-bomb in some form or another about 14-15 times in roughly 30 seconds
  • Coming-Out Story: According to this article, it's the inspiration for "Hooped Earrings", though it’s not totally overt: "This is about a friend of mine that asked me to be there with her when she came out to her mother."
  • Elemental Motifs: "Legit Tattoo Gun":
    "I am the water in the puddle of the shade of a tree
    You are the sun, when I freeze over, you cannot touch me
    The tree feels bad- you can tell by the way that it felt
    But he still won't move, and the ice won't melt"
  • Enter Stage Window: "The Beers" mentions coming into a house party via the window.
  • Fight Fur Your Right to Party: The video for "West Virginia" features a girl dressed as a bunny and a guy in a whole-body Panda fursuit. The video seems to take place at a Halloween party as there are a number of oddly-dressed people in attendance, providing some justification for this.
  • Fish-Eye Lens: The video for "West Virginia" was entirely shot with an extreme wide-angle lens, giving the whole thing a trippy, MTV appearance that makes the fairly mundane content of the video (a Halloween party) seem deranged and surreal.
  • Genre-Busting: Good luck figuring out how to label them beyond just indie (The Other Wiki labels them as “acoustic-dance-indie-punk”). Almost every time they’re asked to describe their music, they come up with something different.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: The narrator of "Au Revoir (Adios)" uses basic French to try and insult the woman in the song (by implying she's stupid). She proceeds to throw it right back at him, but with Spanish.
  • Important Haircut: In "Hooped Earings", the narrator helps his friend cut her hair short against the wishes of her mother. The haircut is given a lot of focus in the song, and it symbolizes the friend being newly out as a lesbian.
  • Joisey: They're from New Jersey, and the general setting shows in frequently in their music. Many music videos are filmed in a suburban landscape. "The Beers" mentions being on steroids, another song talks about someone whose grandfather's in the Mafia, hitting a few classic Jersey stereotypes. The overall sad and emotional feel of their discography fits with the stereotype of New Jersey as a depressing place.
  • Location Song: "West Virginia" and "Rhode Island" are both titled after states, though both only mention the location in passing, being more about people who happen to be in those states at the moment. Similarly, "Santa Monica" is named after the town and associated beach in California, which is mentioned but not the main point of the song.
  • Long Title: "The Boredom Is The Reason I Started Swimming. It's Also The Reason I Started Sinking", "I Swear To God the Devil Made Me Do It"
  • Lyrical Dissonance:
    • "Flashlight" is catchy and upbeat, but the lyrics are very sad, about losing someone you used to be in love with to homelessness and substance abuse.
    • The last verse of "Lone Star" follows directly from the chorus and forms the emotional climax of the song, with Brian's voice cracking as he screams the words. But the lyrics, variants on "Because freshness is expected from any Hip-Hop artist, I avoid using traditional techniques"note  have absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the song, a dark one about abortion, and the mundaneness of the lyrics contrasts dramatically with the delivery. Could be taken to represent the POV character entering a Heroic BSoD.
  • Lyrical Shoehorn: The structure of the songs seems to be 'finish the music, then jam the lyrics in'
  • Non-Appearing Title: On their self-titled: "Looking like You Just Woke Up", "The Boredom Is The Reason I Started Swimming. It's Also The Reason I Started Sinking.", "Legit Tattoo Gun", "Hooped Earrings". On Talon there's "The Feud", "Lone Star", "Backflip". Bathtub also repeatedly uses shower instead of bathtub. From Back On Top: "Summer Shandy", "Historic Cemetery", "The Plan (Fuck Jobs)", "2YI".
  • Obvious Stunt Double: The video for "Backflip", which is about the band "accidentally" murdering their friends in horrible ways, cuts from a shot of the actor to a shot of a paper mache body that looks only vaguely like the victim before it is set on fire/otherwise killed in a horrible way.
  • One-Word Title: "Flashlight", "Maps", "Mountain", "Father", "Bathtub", "Skeleton", "Peach", "Backflip"
  • Patricide: In Father "I have this dream where I am hitting my dad with a baseball bat// And he is crying and screaming for help// and maybe halfway through it becomes more about me killing him// Than it ever did protecting myself."
  • Re-release the Song: Rose and Ann contain re-releases of songs from their self-published era, such as "12 feet deep" on Rose.
  • Rock-Star Song:
    • Both “The Boredom Is The Reason…” and “Twin Size Mattress” are at least partially about touring and being in a band, but subvert this. The first talks about being stuck in a foreign country during the holidays alone due to touring. The second references the poor conditions they usually find themselves while on tour and how touring affects relationships.
    • "I Swear to God the Devil Made Me Do It" talks about hoping of attaining financial success and making a difference through music, while also worrying about not being up to it or having enough talent.
  • Rule of Pool – The music video for "Swimming Pool" opens with Brian pushes Mat into a dirty pool, clothes and all.
  • Sex as Rite-of-Passage – A darker take in "The Cops"
    "The first time I had sex it was a stranger in a bathroom. My friends were right, and since that day it's felt the same."
  • Shout-Out:
    • Talon of the Hawk and the knife depicted on the album cover both refer to a knife Brian Sella once had, which was named after Deputy Hawk of Twin Peaks.
    • A more literal one in "West Virginia", which has the line "This one goes out to all my friends in West Virginia", supposedly a shout out to an especially good crowd they had at a concert there.
  • Silly Love Songs:
    • "Summer Shandy" is a pretty staightforward one about being in love on summer vacation at the Shore.
    • Subverted in "Cough It Out" and "Peach". Both are poppy, upbeat songs that sound like simple declarations of love if you only listen to the chorus, but the verses reveal a relationship that is dysfunctional and darker than it appears on the surface.
  • Stalker with a Crush:
    • One way to interpret the opening lines of "Flashlight". Other parts of the song are about obsessing over the girl in question's actions and whereabouts, even though she's no longer in the narrator's life.
    "Please fall asleep so I can take pictures of you and hang them in my room"
    • "The Beers" also talks about looking through the windows of the home of the girl the narrator is interested.
  • Surreal Music Video: The video for "everyone blooms" features the band members faces exploding into flowers and shooting through a psychedelic, CGI Acid-Trip Dimension with no performances or plot to speak of.
  • Sweetie Graffiti: In "Cough It Out", the narrator sees the shape of the initials he carved with his lover everywhere in the branches.
  • Time Skip: "Funny You Should Ask" skips from winter to summer in one verse, and takes place over a number of years as a relationship progresses from innocent teen love to a more jaded and fractious adult relationship.
  • Unrequited Love: The bridge of "Swimming Pool", with the narrator being aware of it, but confused as to why they would be in love with him in the first place
    "How low is your self-esteem, and how low could it possibly be? And I know, I know, you're in love with me and I've been ignoring you
  • A Wild Rapper Appears!: "Historic Cemetery" features a rapped outro by rapper GDP at the end of a song that's mostly rock.
  • Women Prefer Strong Men: "The Beers": "and I will remember that summer as the summer I was taking steroids, 'cause you like a man with muscle, and I like you."


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