114. Song No. 1,564: “Can We Lip Sync This One?,” The June Spirit
Treat Me Like Someone Else, 2001
For all the musical wonders that New Jersey can lay claim to, it’s my hometown that got to be the birthplace of The June Spirit, a local darling I was far from the only one who giddily abandoned my indier-than-thou gatekeeping for in favor of positively effusing about to anyone who’d listen to some breathless, fangirly gushing. But, like, c’mon: How often does a band you saw play at five-dollar local venues suddenly have listeners halfway across the continent and in other countries?
The staggering majority of TJS’s stuff is in the latter half of the alphabet, so this is one of those times when a song is more of a stand in for the greater whole; with their prominence just missing the nigh-immortality of the digital era, their recorded output amounts to one EP, one full-length album and a smattering of whatever odds and ends have endured two decades, which means I won’t have an opportunity to talk about my sentimental Jersey-scene favorite for a looooong time — and also makes these more permanent survivors mean a little more and feel a little more precious. The comparatively scant amount of their songs in my library is vastly and sadly disproportionate to how deeply I still love these guys and will be forever grateful for their place in my personal soundtrack, even if it has been years since their stuff got any kind of significant rotation.
Some bands sound like high school in a sweetly nostalgic way; others are a little more painful to revisit no matter how fondly I feel about their songs and, somehow, the otherwise innocuous TJS is one of them. But, like a lot of those intertwining memories, they are also a richly complex reminder of where I came from, how things change, and those moments and eras that are worth revisiting and reexamining no matter how they ended so you never really forget how to sing along.