129. Japandroids - Celebration Rock
So in my last post, I talked about the first time I saw Japandroids at the Bell House in Brooklyn. Well I can prove that I wasn’t telling a tall tale. In the artwork on this Japandroids album, you can find me in a picture from that show!
See! There I am! I can cross off “being in the artwork of an album” off my list of musical achievements. To the music and stories!
"Younger Us" was a song that was released a few years before this record came out (in 2010). At that time, I was still at college, and was working a really horrible summer job. Each day I would drive to arrive by 9am to be a Telemarketer for a
probably definitely sketchy “Energy Supplier.” I am 100% convinced that it was a scam. I would call up businesses, and try to convince them to stay on the line long enough for me to talk to them about their current utility bill. I would then ask them to fax me over their last bill, and we would analyze it, and let them know how much they could save if they fixed their rate with us. Oddly enough, I was actually qualified to hold this position. At school I worked for the Phonathon program, which meant that I called Alumni and asked them for donations. I picked this job at school because it paid the best. Eventually I worked my way up to becoming a student manager there for two years. So when I was scanning Craigslist for summer jobs, this telemarketing job was the only place that called me back. By the end of my time there, I was the employee there the longest besides management. How’s that for willpower?
I learned a lot that summer. Mostly, I saw the importance of finishing school, so I didn’t end up like my coworkers. I felt so bad for them. This was their reality, moving from job to job, desperately trying to make things work for themselves. The managers kept dangling the promise of wonderful commissions if they were able to get deals, and they really believed it. Instead the reality is that these managers would emotionally torment these people when people didn’t react positively to the scam operation that we were likely promoting. Everyone was set up to fail. I had an out, because I was leaving as soon as school was starting back up. These poor folks didn’t. So over the course of a few months I watched someone throw a chair through a door, had a bright red faced man who was likely high on coke yell “DEALS” at me, and was told to kill myself a few times over the phone.
So this leads me back to Japandroids and the song “Younger Us.” I made a mix CD for my car, and the first track was this powerful, driving Japandroids song. It screamed for a time when you felt younger, invincible, and had the pure joy of life pulsing through your veins. At 20 years old I pined for a younger me. I felt so old, so broken down every day. I was miserable calling up these people who I didn’t want to bother, and didn’t want to rip off. I did well enough for them not to fire me, but not enough for them to really notice I was there. I think maybe 2 of my leads materialized throughout this whole summer. Everyone else got wise and dropped out before they signed any paperwork.
In the summer of 2012 when this album came out, I was just out of school and unemployed. This time around I was looking for a job that would hopefully make me happy, and a few days after I saw Japandroids live for a second time, I did.