You know what they say: “a little goes a long way.” This adage shamelessly clings to the frugality of our lives, its exemplary usage spanning in the foreground of everything from the amount of dish detergent we elect to use to the limited color palettes that Claude Monet used to create masterpieces such as Woman with a Parasol – Madame Monet and Her Son. The phrase indicates an amount of frugality that isn’t just designated for the impoverished. Rather, it dually serves as an indication of the excess. Whether it be a hapless and pitifully helpless college student desperately trying to figure out how to measure laundry or an Impressionist painter of great degree, the applicable phrase is designed to save anyone from overindulgence, operating under the license of maximizing the most out of every bit that one may have. The same centuries-old phrase can be just as readily applied to Flint, MI emo outfit Baggage’s latest endeavour The Good That Never Comes. Though a bittersweetly short EP, Baggage makes the most out of their limited album time with sweeping, near-anthemic 3 tracks- an exemplar that a little bit of emo, can, in fact, go a long way.
If there is one thing that Baggage has consistently done throughout their short career, it is their exercisement of aptitude in the succinct. Upon pressing play, Baggage throws any semblance of beating around the bush to the wayside, opening “The Good That Never Comes” with an immediate candor and sweepingly expressive, pseudo-melancholic riffs. Instrumentally, The Good That Never Comes is at times a nearly instantaneous instrumental earworm to any redeemable depressed midwesterner, complete with classic melodic tropes that can be heard throughout “Half Full” and more raw punk chord structures that constitute “Staring At the Wing.” Arguably, such a mellifluous design of enigmatically somber and poignant instrumentation is most developed in the opening title track, in which features an equal combination of raw punk rarity with emo’s classically solemn characteristics serving as punctual accentuations to the adjacent heartfelt and blunt lyrics. Instrumentally speaking, not a millisecond is wasted in this short stint of an album.
However, this instrumental eargasm does not hold Baggage above a sort of yin-and-yang effect. Where The Good That Never Comes flourishes and bursts in its instrumental composition, it falls relatively short when it comes to the lyrical quality. As I mentioned before, this 3 track EP is best described as near-anthemic, in the sense that the lyrics feel more or less undeveloped. While I have always appreciated Baggage’s plain-spoken attitude lyrically, such as that of their 2015 endeavour Cheaper Than Therapy, the lyrical thematics are much less played-out than what I had initially expected. In some ways, The Good That Never Comes’ lyrical interpretations appear in haste, as if the production and procurement of verbiage was rushed. What I wish is that for moments in verses such as the following in “Half Full:”
“I’m thinking that you gave up on humanity
But the difference is I believe in human beings.
The darkest part is waking up.
But time won’t wake me up…”
…featured just a slight more development or, perhaps, an alteration in both syntax and semantics.
Still, such hasty inscriptions are never without heart and still stand in much starker contrast of the painfully blunt verses in “The Good That Never Comes:”
“This old tree is losing all its leaves
You can count the lines under my eyes
To see just how old I feel
You want the truth? Maybe it’s not so bad.
Someone knocked me down for good,
Cut me up for firewood.”
In summation, Baggage’s The Good That Never Comes is a bittersweet cross-section of what the band may perhaps make of a future endeavour. The album’s timelessness comes in the form of its sweeps of plaintive and heart-rending instrumentation, coupled with the emo outfit’s history of temperamental candor. Short, sweet, though a footnote in the greater concept of midwestern emo, The Good That Never Comes is still a valiant, albeit hasty, noteworthy effort in the band’s discography. What marks it for good is its seamless endeavour to never waste a second, proving that, though we will still be waiting as listeners for the good that is yet to come, a little bit of heartfelt midwestern emo goes a long, long way. (Katt Hass)
Beer Pairing: Fillmore 13 Brewery’s War Cry IPA: War Cry IPA is this local Pontiac, MI brewery’s flagship beer, and it is no surprise as to why. Brewed with Columbus, Chinook, and Cascade hops, War Cry is simple, easily digestible, and playful on the palate- an American IPA that embodies everything that Baggage’s The Good That Never Comes aurally produces. Both are as midwestern as midwestern gets!
For Fans Of: The Swellers, Transit, The Menzingers
*An acknowledgement from the editor:
Baggage’s The Good That Never Comes is a charity album. The band released it on Bandcamp last July as a ‘pay-what-you-want’ download option, with proceeds benefiting the Flint Water Crisis victims. Yes, as in the people and families who are still afflicted by the lead poisoning and have STILL received no proper State of Michigan-funded relief, nor clean drinking water for the unethical and deliberate poisoning of the inhabitants of Flint, MI under Governor Rick Snyder- a man who miraculously still comfortably holds office. The band publicly posted this message in relation to the release:
“This release is a PAY WHAT YOU WANT download and ALL of the money from this month is going directly into getting toiletries for Flint Water Crisis victims. At the end of the month we’ll be taking the money and shopping for the most cost-effective way to fill our van with goods and dropping it off to the Bethel United Methodist Church in Flint where they have a donation station for residents. The money won’t be going to some organization that has millions of dollars saved up, this is going directly to a cause where we know it will be taken care of.
Thank you for supporting our band. We hope you enjoy the songs. As always, we hope what we do inspires you to do the same. Together we can make a difference.
Treat people like people again.”
-Jonathan / Baggage