Sports Album Review

by Ian De Leon, Entertainment Editor

As the autumn chill sets into the world, coronavirus still goes on, keeping everyone indoors during this Thanksgiving season. Music can be a great remedy to the “corona blues,” and few albums are more appropriate for this season than Sports by Modern Baseball, also known as MOBO. Emerging from the Philadelphia emo scene in 2012, their debut album Sports was released on November 27th, 2012, and it remains a perfect introduction to one of Philadelphia’s best and brightest emo bands. Though Modern Baseball disbanded in 2017, their work, including Sports, has left a significant mark on the emo scene. Combining elements from emo, indie rock, and folk all at once, Sports is the perfect album for this lonely autumn season.
Listening to the album is akin to opening up the diary of a teenager, reflecting the regrets, fears, and joys of youth. The opening track Re-Do is a strong start to the album, with a mellow opening that is replaced with loud, crashing vocals and instrumentals. Brendan Lukens, one of MOBO’s frontmen, sings about his love for life and his joy in everything in it, which contrasts with his fears of aging and his regrets in his life. This youthful energy carries over into the rest of the album, like in the track The Weekend. This song carries itself not on angst and regret, however, but instead celebrates youth and the joy that can come from being around your friends. However, other songs on the album are less pop-punk in sound, like the song I Think You Were In My Profile Picture Once, which is an entirely acoustic track with a decidedly emo sound. This variance in sound keeps the album fresh and interesting, even if it is a little simple, and it’s this simplicity that is the main success and flaw for the album. The album does not rely on complex instrumentation and lyrics, but it could do well to have more variance in its sound.
This album is full of youthful exuberance. It is immature, self-deprecating, self-aware, and angsty, but this is balanced out by its regretful, melancholic tone. Most of the songs on the album involve themes of lost love, romance in the social media age, and self-hatred, and it’s this angst that is so key to this album’s success. Though simple in its presentation of these themes, the album manages to intelligently communicate them in a way that is relatable to anyone that listens to it. It’s almost embarrassing to hear lyrics like “So I’ll hide where I can/Away from you and your friends/Leaking tears over beers once again,” but this honesty is the exact reason that MOBO found success in the first place. Their relatability stems from the fact that they were, for lack of a better term, honest in their writing. Their songs come from a place that almost all teenagers have been in. Almost everyone can relate to having an unrequited love or losing someone that you love more than anything in the world, and the band’s no-fear attitude to expressing these feelings allowed fans to find an outlet for their emotions.
Sports, while not a technically impressive feat, is still a great achievement by MOBO. Even in their debut album, MOBO showed listeners their versatility and honesty as a music group. The album certainly isn’t as good as their proceeding albums, but it stands as an emotionally intelligent work that shows that the band was very wise beyond their years. By combining youthful exuberance with an honesty that few bands dare to include in their work, MOBO solidified itself in not only the so-called “emo revival” movement, but the hearts of millions of fans around the world. Though MOBO may be gone, they left a lasting impact on the world, and it all started with Sports.