There I was, a young and impressionable thirteen-year-old, grasping my Samsung Galaxy tablet and wearing ridiculous oversized headphones. It’s a school night, and I’m up later than I should be, getting my secret late-night fix of “Battlefield 3 Tank Kills Compilation” when suddenly something catches me off guard. Jaded and disenfranchised from the pop music that I grew up on, this stinging riff and killer drum intro hit me right in the face and I ran straight to the YouTube comments looking for answers. What is this wonderful sound? Lansdowne? This was the moment that changed my life forever and sent me on a path of musical discovery.
Blue Collar Revolver is the first, and only, full length album of Boston rock collective Lansdowne and to this day holds incredible nostalgia for me as being the album that really got me into the music I listen to now. Growing up on WWE and Guitar Hero 3, I had always had an inkling of knowledge into the rock and metal scene, but it wasn’t until hearing the opening track of Blue Collar Revolver, ‘Watch Me Burn’ that I started truly exploring the genres. Launching me into similar American rock bands like Adelitas Way and Halestorm, as well as rekindling my love for Skillet, Lansdowne were a gateway drug, and one that only cost me two weeks of paper round savings.
There are some undeniably awesome songs on this album, and even nine years after its release, songs like ‘Drag Me Down’ and ‘By Your Side’ still stick with me as badass rock anthems. Glenn Mungo’s heavy drums and Jon Ricci’s gruff vocals make you want to listen to this album while wearing sunglasses and riding an open top convertible through an empty highway in Mississippi. The slower, ballad-esque tunes like ‘Holding On’ and ‘Used To Be’ are the types of songs that made you think you could sing when you were younger and make you think you can do karaoke when you’re drunk, and probably hold the most appeal for those who aren’t a fan of the hard rock style.
Returning to the album in 2020 though has…. Mixed results, however. While I can’t help but sing along with every word (listening to an album on repeat all day every day at 13 will do that to you), something definitely feels off. What’s immediately noticeable is just how insanely sexually charged this album is. At least half the songs refer to women “riding” something, which at 13 years old was just vague enough to go over my head, and ‘One Shot’ and ‘Up All Night’ are essentially just 3-4 minute brags about how wicked-awesome at sex the lead singer is. Hand in hand with this, too, is the unavoidable fact that a lot of the representations of women in the lyrics of the album leave a lot to be desired. Sure, it’s cool to wear leather jackets, drink whiskey and ride motorcycles, but one thing that definitely doesn’t fly nowadays is bragging about your inability to retain the name of your drunken bar-room pickup.
I still return to Lansdowne every now and then, partly for the nostalgia, and partly because I feel like the floaty pop punk I listen to now isn’t exactly conducive of a good gym playlist, and while I will gladly belt out classics like ‘Watch Me Burn’, I do try to avoid the songs that make me feel like I’m peeping through a dirty keyhole into a seedy Alabama motel room. Lansdowne are worth checking out for fans of the bands mentioned previously in this article, or if you do want to try to get into hard rock, but this album especially is by no means a “Drop what you’re doing and listen to this” classic, as much as it pains my thirteen year old self to say.
Blue Collar Revolver is available now. Check out the video for ‘Watch Me Burn’ below!