That's the narrative round Million Dollars to Kill Me, the brand new album out Friday (Sept. 21) from Torrance, CA's best rock quartet, as proclaimed by frontman Barry Johnson to Billboard from a lodge roof in downtown Manhattan. Not actually: The band's not breaking apart, nor are they prophesying their very own demise. But it's laborious for the now-veteran band to pin down one other simply summarized hook for his or her fifth LP.
"Cody was the 'Joyce Manor develop up' document," says bassist Matt Ebert of the group's 2016 album, their most up-to-date (and most polished) to this point. "So like, the place do you go from there?"
Joyce Manor fashioned practically a decade in the past in Northern California when its co-founders, Johnson and guitarist Chase Knobbe, met over the Internet and bonded over a mutual love of pop-punk heroes Blink-182. They ultimately added Ebert and then-drummer Kurt Walcher and began taking part in gigs as Joyce Manor, and phrase of their flailing, frenzied stay present unfold shortly over social media, particularly by way of Tumblr. "It was numerous like, gifs of our stay present, with one line from [early single] 'Constant Headache,'" Johnson remembers. "That's what received us actually in style."
Their self-titled 2011 debut album, ten blinding explosions of dry pop-punk wit -- together with "Headache," quickly to develop into their signature tune -- additionally helped construct a cult following. By the purpose of 2012 second album Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired, Joyce Manor had grown sufficient of a fanbase that the band might really feel their disappointment over the set's extra experimental edge. But legendary punk label Epitaph was nonetheless impressed sufficient to signal the band in time for his or her third album, 2014's Never Hungover Again, whose extra expansive manufacturing and sharper-than-ever pop choruses each re-enchanted outdated followers and enticed new indie audiences who'd by no means even been to a Cali basement present.
Then got here Cody, the band's even-shinier fourth set. It slowed the tempo on their beforehand pummeling, no-bathroom-breaks-allowed-length anthems and gussied up their pop-rock melodies with a few of their most attractive, accessible hooks to this point -- the band even enlisted enjoyable. frontman Nate Ruess for backing harmonies on one monitor. Many surrounding the band anticipated it to be a make-or-break document for Joyce Manor, both propelling them into the mainstream or alienating their followers altogether.
It ended up doing neither. Like Never Hungover Again earlier than it, Cody scraped the decrease half of the Billboard 200 albums chart, and attracted principally robust critiques, however any hopes (or fears) that it could flip Joyce Manor into the subsequent Weezer proved unfounded. "It wasn’t just like the album that modified shit for us for good or unhealthy," explains Johnson. "It wasn’t profession destroying or profession making. It was simply carer persevering with."
However, regardless of an initially chilly reception from a few of the Joyce Manor devoted, the band observed that the crowds at their stay reveals in assist of the album have been persevering with to swell. It received to the purpose the place, for the primary time coming off tour on the top of an album cycle, the band didn't must get part-time jobs earlier than getting again out. ("I can discover a job, or I can get a PS4," Johnson recollects musing, choosing the latter.) Next January, a leg of the band's upcoming tour will kick off with a homecoming on the practically 4000-cap Hollywood Palladium -- simply Joyce Manor's greatest headlining gig but. "I hope it’s not half-full," the frontman says.
But what's actually hanging in regards to the band's gigs immediately isn't the numbers of followers they're attracting, it's the kind. The band's preliminary following of their Tumblr days consisted, as Johnson describes, largely of "16-year-old and 17-year-old women, with septum piercings and inexperienced hair." While most would count on that fanbase to age with the band, significantly as their music has mellowed over practically ten years and 5 albums, Joyce Manor have managed a feat that few rock acts exterior of the arena-touring likes of Fall Out Boy and Panic! At the Disco can declare: They become old, however their followers appear to remain the identical age. Not solely that, however they're going as nuts for the Cody tracks as they did for the band's road-tested classics.
The band is flummoxed as to why. ("I don’t know the way that’s stored going," Johnson says. "Where the fuck do children even discover out about music now?") But as a band whose roaring stay power has stayed constant whilst their on-record mania has chilled, they unanimously favor it to the choice: taking part in for a room stuffed with head-nodding 30-somethings. "[My teens and early twenties] have been after I loved music and going to reveals probably the most," Knobbe says. "So being on the opposite aspect of that… it truly feels good and enriching." (The 4 members -- who vary from 26 to 32 years outdated -- are additionally all in relationships, which they are saying shields them from any of the extra unsavory components that would accompany such an age discrepancy between them and their followers. "It sort of feels extra like being a camp counselor," Knobbe jokes.)
While the band could also be sustaining the fervour of a fanbase principally related to pop-punk, they're additionally reaching a stability extra acquainted to legacy indie acts. Million Dollars to Kill Me -- named after an ancedote from Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker's darkest days -- is the primary of the band's 5 albums to not function a direct response to the one earlier than it. It's not a risk-taking follow-up to a breakout debut, it's not a course-correction to win again outdated followers or a springboard to attempt to appeal to new ones. It's only a actually, actually good Joyce Manor album.
That's to not say that the band doesn't strive something new on the document. The second half of Million Dollars finds Joyce Manor exploring their milder aspect in beforehand unheard methods, with Johnson specifically singing with virtually unrecognizable softness. "Gone Tomorrow" lays Frankie Valli vocal phrasing over Teenage Fanclub-like power-pop balladry, whereas "Silly Games" marries buzzing guitar a la Muse's "Starlight" to to a easy, cooing hook that would've appeared on a Jerry "The Iceman" Butler hit. The band additionally has a brand new fourth member this outing: Pat Ware, their third drummer in three albums. Ware, who additionally drums with Philly punks Spraynard, was nagged by Johnson to hitch two days after he graduated school. "I was making use of for jobs, I used to be shifting in direction of that life," he explains. "And [Barry was] kinda like, “Coooome onnnnn!”"
Generally, the set completes the band's evolution from a pop-punk-based act to a principally power-pop one, whereas suggesting there won't be that a lot distinction between the 2 sub-genres to start with. But when you're searching for something to mark an enormous left flip or greater doubling down for the group -- or actually something that may change your opinion on Joyce Manor in a big means -- you're prone to be disenchanted.
For their half, the band couldn't be extra thrilled to be this boring. "I feel it’s nice to get to that time as a band, the place it stops being a response," Knobbe says. "It’s cool when you may kinda simply flip inward and simply..."
"...Just Yo La Tengo out," interrupts Johnson, citing the beloved New Jersey indie trio who've been releasing constantly acclaimed albums for over 30 years. "Like, 'Hey, Yo La Tengo did one other good document. Who offers a shit?' I’m completely satisfied to be at that time, the place it’s like, 'Surprise shock, the brand new Joyce Manor is sweet.'"
The band's high quality management resulted in a few of the greatest songs of their profession on Million Dollars, together with the advance single "Think I'm Still in Love With You," whose huge guitar riff, irresistible chorus and not-as-sentimental-as-you-think lyric make it arguably Joyce Manor's biggest pop tune to this point. And not solely is the tune paying homage to any variety of '90s alt-radio classics, it's received a Buzz Clip-worthy video to match: a humorous, densely plotted and visually imaginative clip helmed by Christopher Good (Mitski, Perfume Genius), which wouldn't be misplaced on the Director's Label DVDs for MTV auteurs Michel Gondry or Spike Jonze. (For their half, Joyce acknowledge Good's genius however truly favor the less-ambitious, Ebert-starring and karaoke-styled lyric video for the set's title monitor. "I don’t give a fuck about music movies," Johnson admits. "I needed to fucking act. I hated it.")
And whereas the set resists simple narratives for the Internet to devour, it does throw the social mediaverse one fairly meaty monitor to chew on: "Friends We Met Online," which may be the primary (principally) straight-faced ode to net tradition to look on a significant rock document. ("You and I are members of the identical on-line neighborhood/ I do know that it sounds kinda lame when stated out loud," the tune begins, amid chugging guitar and double-claps.) "I’m happy with it, as a result of I actually hate the Internet," Johnson explains. "But I feel it’s tough to attempt to write a tune that talks about one thing optimistic in regards to the Internet, the place it helps some folks be much less lonely." In typical Joyce trend, although, "Online" contains a late-song twist, with Johnson asking "How can we mis-remember/ Such unhappy, horrible occasions?"
"I feel that’s me simply attempting to be like, 'Look, I get it. The Internet, it sucks,'" he acknowledges with fun.
"Friends" was one in every of a number of songs from Million Dollars that Johnson initially wrote in an electronic mail collaboration with Rory Phillips, former frontman for '90s Texas ska-punks The Impossibles. The undertaking was initially meant to end in a seven-inch launch exterior of Joyce Manor, till the frontman determined he wished to protect the sanctity of solely releasing materials by way of his band. "I didn’t need to do a fucking solo document, I didn’t really feel like I used to be being creatively stifled in my band -- during which I'm the songwriter," he says. "I don’t do tasks, I've by no means accomplished it -- something musically exterior of Joyce Manor. It’s already my fucking factor."
Even if he doesn't document exterior of Joyce Manor, it's nonetheless simple to see Johnson following within the footsteps of pop-punk predecessors like Mitch Allan of SR-71 and John Feldmann of Goldfinger, and transitioning right into a late-career gig as a songwriter to the celebs. Johnson wonders if "Still in Love" might've been offered to Taylor Swift. ("She’d have recorded it, and been like, 'Yeah, I like this!' after which misplaced curiosity in it and never put it out," he guesses.) He even jokingly launched a latest efficiency of the tune on a Paste acoustic livestream as being particularly written for her. "I might completely try this," he says of the transfer. "I feel if somebody at Epitaph had heard [Million Dollars'] 'Big Lie' and been like, 'You know what, this tune is superb -- let’s see if, like, Carly Rae Jepsen needs to make use of it or one thing...'"
He by no means fairly finishes that thought. "I really like Joyce Manor, although," he stops himself. "I’m actually treasured about my songs, and I’m not extraordinarily prolific [like] Ryan Adams." He additionally doubts whether or not he's fairly prime 40-ready but: "I actually don’t assume I've that degree of songwriting chops, actually. I feel I can write a memorable tune, however I don’t assume I’m to the extent of having the ability to compete with the massive boys or no matter, the upper-echelon profession songwriter folks." He pauses. "But I dunno, I’d be open to present it a shot, and if there’s somebody who wished to pay me a bunch of cash to do it…"
Until then, Johnson and Joyce Manor will almost definitely hold pumping out albums that seize fewer and fewer headlines whereas attracting increasingly followers, protecting on the slow-but-steady progress they've remodeled a decade within the business. "I’m so completely satisfied for 22 12 months olds to come back to our reveals and lose their fucking thoughts, as a result of they work on the fucking Olive Garden they usually don’t know what they’re doing with their life, eternally," Johnson raves. "And I'll proceed to not know what I’m doing with my life, with them, until I’m fucking about to die."