Mineral - The Power of Failing
Sep 12, 2020
100
[MY10 CHALLENGE: DAY 9]

Another 100 from meeeeeeeeeeeee

Over my years of being involved in music-centric communities, I’ve found that midwest emo is a genre that people tend to be very divisive on. You either think almost everything from the scene is pure fucking gold and is the peak of music, or you view it as a rotting corpse that drowned in clichés long ago. I find myself to be sitting more in the middle, but leaning on the former. It would be a flat out lie to say I wasn’t easily impressed by the sound, but you’ll also never see me pretending like Tiny Moving Parts or Modern Baseball aren’t anything other than dogshit (sorry y’all, but they fucking suck). The classics such as American Football’s legendary LP1, Diary by Sunny Day Real Estate, Cap’n Jazz and especially this album bring back a lot of wonderful memories that I will forever cherish. The Power of Failing in particular though has always been the one I’ve connected with the most.

I don’t think it would at all be far-fetched to say this is the peak of midwest emo. The vocals are extremely *emo*tive (see what I did there? Please laugh) yet have a degree of skill and control that make them sound somewhat professional. They’re not too dissimilar to Jeremy Engik’s on Diary. It possesses all the rough, depressed but youthful energy of the genre’s roots mixed with a catchier, more beautiful indie rock sound. Which is all the more surprising when you learn that this record actually came out a full two years before American Football did. Mineral isn’t nearly as math rock centric as them, but more set upon creating a certain vibe. A watery sort of vibe.

TPoF is like the soundtrack to drifting along a river in an inflatable raft with some close friends. The conversation ranges anywhere from drunken jokes to opening up about serious trauma. You can hear splashing from fish and other animals ambiently. The atmosphere is something you soak in like a dampened sponge. I’ve always loved that quality about it. The album takes you to a whole other world. One where everything is so much more complicated, yet simultaneously more simple. It’s an atmosphere that I’ve never heard another record from this sphere be able to capture with such consistent effectiveness.

Which leads into the root of the bias people have against this genre: new bands won’t stop trying to do what the greats have. Obviously, there are some fantastic revival bands that do deserve recognition (primarily The Hotelier and their fantastic sophomore album Home, Like Noplace is There) but overall it’s predominantly riddled with unskilled teenagers trying to rip off Mike Kinsella constantly. This is to the point where I’ve seen people be scared off of some of the genuinely great classics just because of bands like Modern Baseball failing to put out anything adjacent to competent.

I’d like to leave this review off with some homework for you all. I’m gonna list the 4 essentials, then provide 3 actually good midwest emo revival albums because yes, they do exist.

ESSENTIALS:
-This album (as well as Mineral’s sophomore record EndSerenading)
-Sunny Day Real Estate ~ Diary
-American Football ~ LP1
-Cap’n Jazz ~ Analphabetapolothology (or Burritos, Inspiration Point, Fork Balloon Sports if you want something shorter from them)

ACTUALLY GOOD REVIVAL ALBUMS:

-The Hotelier ~ Home, Like Noplace is There
-The World Is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die ~ Whenever, If Ever (say that band name five times fast)
-Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate) ~ What It Takes to Move Forward

Now that’s out of the way, get to work. Put your assignment on my desk when it’s finished and I’ll have it graded by the end of the week.

FAVORITES: Five, Eight, and Ten | Gloria | Slower | 80-37 | July | Parking Lot

LEAST FAVORITE (If I must pick): Take the Picture Now

Summary/side note: I didn’t have time to do a track-by-track breakdown of this record, so I tried a new structure. Please tell me what y’all think of it! Much love. <3
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