The Get Up Kids: Problems (Polyvinyl) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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The Get Up Kids



May 13, 2019 The Get Up Kids Bookmark and Share

If you’ll excuse the pun, the problem with having an iconic, much beloved, genre-defining record in your back catalogue is that the weight of expectation to meet or better that record becomes too great. The Get Up Kids’ 1999 classic Something to Write Home About is one of these such examples, existing as one of the best examples of “Midwest Emo” and the oncoming pop punk revival of the time.

Interestingly, American Football, whose self-titled and equally important debut record (also released in 1999), proved earlier this year with their stunning third full-length record that it is possible to redefine and reestablish yourself two decades on. The Get Up Kids’ latest Problems, which like American Football is their second album as a reformed act, doesn’t quite hit those heights, though there are plenty of things to enjoy here.

Opener “Satellite,” for instance, kicks things off in a pleasing manner, with a suitably infectious chorus we’ve come to expect from the Kansas City quintet. “The Problem is Me” sees the band at their most straight-forward pop with bouncy basslines and synths akimbo. The slow-burning “Salina,” meanwhile, shows one of their more recently adopted qualities to build songs up subtly rather than going straight for the emotional jugular. “Fairweather Friends,” equally, has all the hooks and catchiness one would expect from a classic Get Up Kids track.

However, “Waking Up Alone” takes on a strange mid-‘90s Britpop vibe that feels mildly out of place whereas “Your Ghost is Gone” harkens but sits just on the wrong side of the band’s tendencies towards schmaltz. Still, Problems is an altogether solid enough and enjoyable listen, it merely fails to push beyond being an impression of the band’s former glories. (

Author rating: 6/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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