There Are Rules
|There Are Rules|
|Studio album by The Get Up Kids|
|Released||January 25, 2011|
|Label||Quality Hill Records|
|The Get Up Kids chronology|
|Singles from There Are Rules|
There Are Rules is the fifth studio album by American rock band The Get Up Kids, the band's first full-length release since 2004's Guilt Show. After their initial reunion, the band decided to challenge themselves to write and record an album in only two weeks without using any digital technology. Ultimately, due to conflicting schedules, they dropped the two-week deadline and recorded over several months in 2009 and 2010. Much of the album was recorded in the same sessions as their first post-reunion release, Simple Science, the song "Keith Case" being featured on both.
In the summer of 2009, The Get Up Kids entered the studio with longtime collaborator Ed Rose to begin writing their first new material since breaking up in 2005. Over the course of several months, they recorded a total of nine songs using entirely analog equipment. Originally, they planned to record three more songs and release a series of three 12" vinyl EPs in 2010. However, this plan was scrapped after the release of Simple Science, the first of the planned series, and the band instead decided to combine the remaining tracks with more new material and release a full-length album.
In the years away from the group, several members had gone on to join major-label acts; Rob Pope became the bassist for Spoon, and James Dewees became the touring keyboardist for My Chemical Romance. Because of these prior commitments, writing and recording sessions had to be scheduled long in advance. The songwriting process itself was more free-form than on previous albums, usually beginning with one member suggesting an instrumental part and building on it. If they didn't like the result in 30 minutes, they abandoned it. For instance, the song "Regent's Court" was written in one hour before Matt Pryor had to pick his kids up from school. The only song recorded in these sessions that has yet to be released is "Neverending," the first song written after the band's reunion.
The songs are a departure lyrically from the band's past work, due in large part to their attempts to make the album as unique from their past work as possible. Although the band has been known for writing heartfelt, emotional love songs, Pryor didn't want any songs about relationships on the album. "I felt like I could write love songs until I'm blue in the face and it's one of the things that this band has been known for to a certain degree. It's just to challenge myself as a songwriter to not write about anything that's formulaic for me." Pryor also didn't write lyrics until the songs were in a mostly completed state, making sure that the music aspect came first; "I had to write lyrics for ten songs at a time. No love songs; I had to have the lyrics fit the mood of the music." Unlike their previous three albums, There Are Rules was not released on Vagrant Records. Instead, the album was released through the band's own Quality Hill Records, named after the historic Quality Hill neighborhood in the band's hometown of Kansas City, Missouri. According to Pryor, the move to their own label (along with the financial support provided by their other projects) has given them greater creative freedom than they previously had. "We’re not in the music rat race so much, so I think this record is us choosing to do something creative even if it ends up not being as popular as some of the poppier stuff."
Originally, the band wanted to release the album for free online through MySpace Music, working with former Sub Pop representative and Myspace Music head Jason Reynolds. However, after Reynolds left Myspace, he approached the band about self-distributing the album on their own label. The album was released on January 25, 2011 on compact disc, 180 gram vinyl and digital download. The iTunes version of the album came with two bonus tracks.
|The Album Project|||
|Consequence of Sound|||
|The A.V. Club||C+|
The album received somewhat positive reception. It holds a 62 rating on Metacritic, denoting "mixed or average reviews." Pitchfork reviewer Ian Cohen praised the band for attempting to move their sound forward, but felt the results were somewhat aimless; "Gone are the band's geographic puns and tales of the romantic rigors of college freshman, but they're replaced by a professional anonymity that kinda sums up the problem with There Are Rules: When you spent the prime of your career trying to document the contours of post-teen torment, what happens when you no longer have a first-hand view?" Marc Hawthorne of The A.V. Club applauded the band's energy and new direction, but commented that the songwriting felt "undercooked." He was more positive overall than the Pitchfork reviewer, however, ending the review by saying "[t]here’s no doubt that these guys can still rock with all the heart-on-sleeve younguns they’ve influenced; now they just have to rediscover something worth writing home about."
However, some reviews were far more positive. In his review for Drowned in Sound, reviewer Tom Perry noted that the album was a major leap forward for the band; "The Get Up Kids of yore wouldn't have pulled off a song like 'Rally Around [sic] The Fool'. Before it would have had all the edge and menace of a kitten baring its teeth at you. Now they employ nuanced horror keyboards, digital ticks and big soundtrack guitars working the magic...It is a superb track that couldn't have been made if they'd stuck to a safer formula."  Adam Pfleider of Absolute Punk wrote a glowing review, while warning fans not to expect it to sound like the band's previous work; "Some of There Are Rules will be hard to swallow for many of the band's fans...The familiar nuances have been rearranged and built into something stronger, but the attitude and depth is all the same, if not more adhesive and much more endearing than before." One of the most positive takes came from Alternative Press, who gave the album four-and-a-half stars out of five; "There Are Rules truly stands out in the members' collective catalogs as a completely unique entity, and one that should be viewed as nothing less than an absolutely stunning success."
All tracks written by The Get Up Kids.
|There Are Rules|
|3.||"Shatter Your Lungs"||2:49|
|6.||"Rally 'Round the Fool"||5:17|
|9.||"The Widow Paris"||3:37|
|11.||"When It Dies"||4:04|
|Japanese / Australian / New Zealand Bonus Tracks|
|13.||"Past Is Past"||3:51|
|14.||"Walk 'Em With Grace"||2:34|
|US Billboard 200||124|
|Top Rock Albums||33|
|Top Alternative Albums||22|
|Top Tastemaker Albums||19|
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