1998, Music

How It Feels to Be Something On (1998) by Sunny Day Real Estate

Apparently these guys were one of the original Midwest Emo bands. I did not know that; really I knew nothing at all about them before listening to this record.

I am very much on the post-hardcore side of the post-hardcore/emo dichotomy, if there is such a thing. If it’s a continuum – that’s certainly more likely – I am still very much on the post-hardcore side of things. To the extent that I know emo, I find it less varied and a hell of a lot less energetic than the rest of the post-hardcore world, and two of the reasons I like post-hardcore are that the music has the energy of hardcore and it has more variety than hardcore.

But this band…well, they’re interesting, at least on this record. Though they are definitely more sedate – and, yes, more “emotional” in a certain sense – than the post-hardcore bands I like, they also clearly listen to lots of interesting music so that it often sounds like emo crossed with something else. And they play around with the sound enough from track to track that it doesn’t just feel like 10 whiny songs which sound the same.

The songs themselves are reasonably catchy and pleasantly knotty at times – well, not knotty, but nearly knotty – to keep me interested.

I like this and I think that this is the kind of emo I want to listen to if this is what emo sounds like. Though this record occasionally reminds me of other bands I like more, most of the time I just enjoy it, and am pleasantly surprised by how (relatively) ambitious it is.


  1. “Pillars” 4:57
  2. “Roses in Water” 3:42
  3. “Every Shining Time You Arrive” 4:13
  4. “Two Promises” 4:39
  5. “100 Million” 5:38
  6. “How It Feels to Be Something On” 3:57
  7. “The Prophet” 5:13
  8. “Guitar and Video Games” 4:09
  9. “The Shark’s Own Private Fuck” 4:03
  10. “Days Were Golden”
  • Jeremy Enigk – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards
  • Dan Hoerner – lead guitar, backing vocals
  • Jeff Palmer – bass
  • Joe Skyward – bass
  • William Goldsmith – drums, percussion

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