Twin Cities Scrapbook: Soviettes

Twin Cities Scrapbook: Soviettes

Pop punk is a tricky subgenre. Unlike most other genres, the rules of the game are strictly upheld, and the pleasures of the music arise from the incisiveness of the lyrics and the subtle ingenuity of performing those three magic chords just so.

In the broad pantheon of pop punk, which include a few greats and, let's face it, innumerable also-rans, the Soviettes stand singular. Rarely had the music felt so finely crafted, rarely had vocal harmonies been so elegantly simple, and rarely had the pleasures of vanishing youth felt more worthwhile.

"Tonight" by Soviettes.

Nostalgia has always been pop punk's stock in trade. A good pop punk song either makes you laugh at a clever turn of phrase (see the Strait A's) or makes you want to run home and call up your very first girlfriend, the one you were too shy to kiss even when she asked you to point blank, and tell her that you don't mind that she broke your heart, that it was all worth it.

The Soviettes hit the ground running in 2001 and quickly became a local force, earning support slots with local punk heavyweights like D4. But when the Soviettes LPII dropped in 2004 with an Adeline Records imprint, there was no question that the Soviettes were new monarchs of the form.

The Soviettes, live live live.

With songs like "Bottom's Up, Bottomed Out," a searing take-down of a sycophantic scenester, "9th Street," a jubilant ode to delirious puppy love, and "B Squad," an anthem about the virtues of being last picked, the tropes of the genre stood in their finest forms, trapped in amber.

The Soviettes disbanded in 2006, but not before releasing a third LP and another handful of splits and singles. When we look back on the achingly fondest passages of ths first decade of the 2000s, we see Annie, Suzy, Sturgeon, and Danny. Even jaded crust punks had to admit--Soviettes were one hell of a band.

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