Re-visit: Designing a Nervous Breakdown
I’ve been in an old school kick, spinning some favorites from the formative, late middle school/early high school years. I say formative because a lot of my eternal favorites (and subsequent discoveries) are a direct result of mixCDs my cousins left lying around their house while they were off at college. I’d surreptitiously listen to the albums, log onto AOL, go to Altavista, type up some of the lyrics, and try to figure out the song and artist. SoundHound or Shazam would have been pretty rad, come to think of it. Unless my memory is completely failing me, the Anniversary was one of those bands I discovered after I listened to their jam “All Things Ordinary” on one of those mix albums. Other notables discovered the same way (mostly prior to the Anniversary) included Mirah, the Get Up Kids, Reggie and the Full Effect, Saves the Day, etc.
I didn’t really go much beyond that one song until early high school when I picked up their debut album (three years old at that point), Designing a Nervous Breakdown. It’s a cliché, but I’m never over how evocative music is – when I spin The Anniversary’s synth-heavy pop rock album, every memory I have from around that time when I got super into them seems to be more vivid. So remember to score your life with a cool soundtrack — it might make a difference, retrospectively speaking. I’m not proud of it, but Akon dominated the Summer of 2009. Hah, on second thought, I’m totally okay with that.
I should point out the Anniversary came onto the scene during an era where pretty much anything that wasn’t Creed or Three Doors Down-esque cock-rock was mislabeled emo. This debut album is pop rock at its late 90s/early aughts finest. Like a number of Vagrant artists (not named Dashboard Confessional, Get Up Kids or Alkaline Trio), the Anniversary peaked relatively early — their follow up effort, Your Majesty, had some cool tunes, but was not a particularly great album overall. They did not release anything else before breaking up in 2004.
An incidental side note – The Get Up Kids’ fourth studio album, Guilt Show, was pretty much written entirely about bassist Rob Pope’s divorce from Adrianne Verhoeven, who rocked the back up vocals and keyboards for the Anniversary.