The Land Before Facebook

Published February 16, 2011 by Laura S

Although Mark Zuckerberg will probably disagree with me, there was once a time when Facebook didn't exist and Myspace was the dominant social network. Teenagers invented self-absorbed usernames, boasted their star sign, and listed their “Top Friends” in order for all to see. The Myspace profile was never fully completed until you chose a song to be docked in the upper left hand corner of your page. This song accurately described your entire life story in three minutes and thirty-five seconds.

The high school that I attended was so incredibly emo that a skinny jeans, hoodie, and converse sneakers combo was the wardrobe adorned by both sexes. Complete with anarchy symbols and Black Flag lyrics drawn on the inside soles of one Mr. Chuck Taylor footwear; this was how we collectively chose to be individuals.

Music is the white-out pen to an emo kid’s JanSport backpack. The more unheard of the artist, the better. The more prevalent this unknown artist was on your Myspace profile, the cooler, and subsequently more emo you were. Amid a treacherous storm of Taking Back Sunday and Green Day, the Plain White T’s popped up on my brother’s Myspace profile, unveiling the lyrics and soft acoustic melody of “Hey There Delilah”.

No one knew about this band, aside from our friend Lindsey, who asserts that the sole reason anyone has (to this day) heard of the Plain White T’s is because of her hand-picked songs burned on a CD with my brother's name sharpie-penned on the shiny surface. She blames him for their rise to fame, and claims she will never expose her favorite songs to him again, for fear he will unlock the underground music scene with a treble clef-shaped key.

Somewhere, Lindsey hoards a lengthy playlist of the world’s most talented musical acts.

Five years after teenagers around the states spent hours trying to tab the heartfelt song on the guitar, I am seeing the sacred Plain White T’s in concert at House of Blues, Dallas. On tour promoting their most recent album, Wonders of the Younger, the band has revamped their style from semi-pop-punk, moving toward the trendier circus-theme, much like Panic! At The Disco circa 2006, and Christina Aguilera for, well, most of her career.

A potential theme song for teenage angst, “Irrational Anthem” is the opening song choice. Throw-your-fists-in-the-air, fly-your-anarchy-flags-high, skip-your-third-period-class type angst, followed by “Boomerang” and “Our Time Now” or that song from ABC Family's Greek.

Recommended for a pop rocket trip back to the mid-2010’s (or whatever it is we decided to call that decade). Since their secret has long since been spread - go ahead - add them to your Facebook iLike queue. I don’t think Lindsey will mind.

Photography by Giovanni Gallucci