Ball Park Music was starting to pick up a solid fan base towards the beginning of my final year of high school. After having It’s Nice To Be Alive and iFly in Triple J’s Hottest 100 in 2011, the band was busy promoting the release of their second album Museum last year. I on the other hand was in need of a music fix during the last week of my school holidays. After their name popped up in conversation I decided to give the band a listen.
Now, you should all know about the phrase ‘love at first sight’, because it was exactly the sort of swooning feeling that I got when I first listened to Happiness And Surrounding Suburbs. Trying to ignore the cheeky cover art of the album, I focused all my attention in the mind-blowing first track of the album. I didn’t have to try so hard though, Literally Baby was the type of song that grabbed by your shirt’s collar and forced your ears to the speakers. Being someone who was studying music theory, my musical mind exploded at all the intricacies of such a contemporary piece. Time after time I listened to the song, and there was always something different that I could hear. Whether it was the delicately articulated guitar, the pounding drum fills, the random guy yelling ‘YES!’ during the drum intro before the rest of the instruments came in, or the sporadic and quirky lyrics, the song was a treasure trove of compositional techniques.
Once the second track came on I was able to relax and take a breather from such a big opening song. As the first couple of chords of It’s Nice To Be Alive kicked in, I had a great moment of realisation when I finally recognised the song. I rarely listened to the radio, so new songs to me weren’t really ‘new’ anymore. I’d always been a bit behind everyone, but I didn’t mind not knowing the latest Lady Gaga or Bruno Mars single. It just wasn’t me. So I was surprised to have finally put this song to the band and the title. Whether it was playing on the radio when my parents had it on in the car, or when I was over a friend’s place, it felt good that I had heard of the band’s music before, even if I didn’t know it was them.
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The more I got into their music, the more I learned about the band. I soon found out that they were from Queensland, just like me, and that they were alumni music students of the University I’m currently studying at. It felt like they were the ‘band next door’, and a sort of familiarity was born between the little indie band and myself.
From party songs like Literally Baby, modern angst ballads such as Sad Future Rude Dude and Rich People Are Stupid to songs like All I Want Is You and iFly (I F*ucking Love You) for lovers, Happiness And Surrounding Suburbs has it all. It was my go to album, whatever mood I was in. And what made Ball Park Music’s songs so relatable was their honesty.
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One of those modern angst ballads mentioned earlier is Sad Future Rude Dude. The word angst brings up all sorts of things, like a world filled of emo music and Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, but as the chorus screams the words ‘I haven’t had a friend in years, I’ve only had sex with myself, I don’t know where it went but all my love is gone’ things get real, quick. And all their songs are like that. Straight to the point, no whinging or whining, brutally honest lyrics. They sing what we’re too afraid to say or feel.
To any indie, pop or rock lover, I highly recommend Ball Park Music’s Happiness And Surrounding Suburbs. It got me through my final year of high school, and I’m sure it’ll get you out of any sort of rut you’re in too.