Forever The Sickest Kids
Balance & Composure|This Time Next Year|Misser
Pure Noise Records|The Story So Far|The American Scene|Troubled Coast
Now, Now|Mansions|K Será
Less Than Jake
Motion City Soundtrack
Triple Crown Records|Fireworks|Moving Mountains|O’Brother
Kind Of Like Records|Candy Hearts|Direct Hit!
No Sleep Records|Aficionado
Second To Last
American Dream Records
The Republic Of Wolves
Runner Runner // “Christmas In California (You’re My Holiday)”
The Summer Set // What Money Can’t Buy
VersaEmerge // “Santa Baby”
This Century // “Kiss Me Like It’s Christmas”
Weezer // “Christmas Celebration”
Bright Eyes // “Have Yourself”
The Front Bottoms // “Christmas Wrapping”
August Burns Red // “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”
Panic! At The Disco // “White Christmas”
States // “O Holy Night”
Forever The Sickest Kids // “Mistletoe Is For Quitters”
Diamond // “Christmas Time Is Here”
Artist Vs Poet // Naughty Or Nice
Plain White T’s // “Duttin’ For Christmas”
The American Scene // “X-Mas In The Suburbs”
Circa Survive // “Christmas Time Is Here”
The Story So Far
For All Those Sleeping Holiday Interview
A minute and a half of moody acoustic pop, all sleigh bells and atmospheric swells, make for one bummer of a Christmas track. Reunited with a loved one in sunny California, vocalist Ryan Ogren sings about everywhere he’s upgraded, but his delivery seems more concerned with what he’s left behind. Why so down bro? Happy Melancholidays!
New Music Video: “I Can’t Wait” // Runner Runner
Runner Runner’s resume reads like a pop-punk supergroup — former members of Over It, Rufio, and Don’t Look Down — but on their self-titled debut full length, the first release from David Letterman’s C.E. Music label (in conjunction with Capital Records), you’d be hard-pressed to find any vestiges of their punk past. Sleek, shiny radio pop is the order of the day, and for better or worse, Runner Runner deliver it in spades.
The album leads with its best foot forward. Opening track “So Obvious” is punchy and propulsive, with harmonies and hooks for days, bursts of guitar and hyperenthusiastic “go-go-go” vocals in all the right places, and a sugar-sweet chorus: “It’s obvious that my heart beats for you // beats for you // beats for you.” It also bears more than a passing resemblance to Metro Station’s “Shake It,” but if Runner Runner are going to crib a riff here and there, at least they’re picking catchy source material. Likewise, “Unstoppable“‘s sing-song intro sounds calls to mind the opening verses of Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me” before morphing into a “we are // we are // we are // unstoppable!” rallying cry. Perhaps best of all is “She’s My Kinda Girl,” with a spoken prechorus that explodes into a chorus of “oh oh oh”s right of out All Time Low’s “Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t)” and an indelible hook that could leave you shouting “beat beat! beat beat!” in all sorts of inappropriate places for the next week.
It’s not all acceleration and adrenaline. “Papercuts” is the consummate power ballad, longing lonely verses swelling into a soaring lament. The mid-tempo “Life After You,” with synth-strings and handclaps surrounding a solid hook, rises above album-track fodder. And the sweetly lovely “I Can’t Wait”, with its acoustics and strings, is sure to soundtrack a wedding or three.
Which is not to say that Runner Runner is a great LP. Lyrically…honestly, don’t bother thinking too hard about the lyrics. Even for lightweight pop music, there’s a real lack of depth here— just stanza after stanza of clichés on love and loss, but mostly love. There’s also a real lack of specificity in the lyrics. Yes, this is clearly a calculated attempt to make this collection of songs as broadly applicable as possible, to create something everyone can relate to, and it’s a trope that’s been used to great success by bands dating back to the Beatles. But Runner Runner’s lyrics tend to come off as slippery, painting archetypes instead of stories, seeming as though they could be to and from anybody, but never from or for you. Perhaps worst of all is “Falling,” a ballad whose sentiment of encouragement and support through tough times is fatally marred by an obtuse, near-insulting chorus of “When you think you’re falling // just get up // just get up.”
The same issues apply to the production as well. It’s possible to over-polish even the shiniest pop song, and producer Dave Darling has sanded off every corner and jagged bit in sight, leaving the whole affair a little too wimpy. While the songs compositionally grow over repeated listens, there’s not much to unpack in the mix; it’s all very limpid and surface-level. It’s the sort of radio-ultraslickness that recent releases from Boys Like Girls and Mayday Parade have also suffered. And when the band dips into pure electronic pop in “Heart Attack,” it misses soulless and veers over to positively soul-sucking.
The closing track, “Running Away,” finally takes a darker turn, but with its sad-sack lyrics and half-anguished “whoa”s, the posturing feels hollow. Runner Runner clearly hold all the cards, but they haven’t quite learned how to play a winning hand.
(Early promo copies of this album shipped with a different closing song, strangely enough also titled Running Away. It’s a quiet number that cracks the hopeful façade the band holds up throughout the disc, betraying a darkness and depth of emotion otherwise held close to their vest. It’s the most affecting and poignant track from the band, honest and raw, unabashedly sad, with sparse guitar and piano lines and perfectly spare production. It’s everything the album is missing, and it’s well worth your time to track down.)
by Jesse Richman
Runner Runner has always been good to PropertyOfZack in the past and it is for that reason that we’re thrilled to be debuting our new Track-By-Track feature with the band! Regardless of a few delays, the band’s debut LP is finally out in stores today and you can check out a full stream here and the meaning behind each of the twelve tracks on the record below:
1. So Obvious (3:44) - This one is to remind us that all of our wildest dreams are always a song away. Whether longing for the ones we love or a way through the desperation of making a dream real, what you want is closer than you think.
2. Unstoppable (3:17) This is the team RR fight song, about doing things your own way and never taking “no” for an answer. We believe that if we stick together the rules are ours for the making.
3. Papercuts (3:37) Here is a forlorn melody about love un-proclaimed or unrequited. We like to picture the tragic hero buried in undelivered love letters. ”Papercuts” is a reminder not to let your love wait another day.
4. Heart Attack (3:13) There is a direct relationship between the beauty of a girl and the degree to which she either makes you want to dance or makes you a monster. Love makes us crazy.
5. Hey Alli (3:19) Rather than sing another broken-hearted ballad, we decided to write an ode to falling in love, and going great lengths to help that special someone realize their dream. We want to pay tribute to the tradition of awesome power-pop ballads about a girl named Allison.
6. Life After You (3:46) A lot of lessons can only be learned the hard way. This one is about moving on and picking up the pieces of your life after the wreckage of a bad romance. It is time to start again and become brand new.
7. Falling (3:44) Whoever we are, and whatever we do, we all know someone who has fallen into doubt. Sometimes all it takes is a friend telling you to keep moving ahead, to get your life back on track.
8. She’s My Kinda Girl (3:49) - There is nothing quite like meeting someone who makes your heart beat a little faster, and knowing instantly that your Mom would approve.
9. Dedicate (3:41) - Whether you have loved, lost or ever wanted to tell a friend how much they mean to you, this song bears the message, “Today I dedicate to you.”
10. I Can’t Wait (3:55) - Ryan came to us with this idea on tour, and so we helped him complete this song, a prelude as it were, to wedding vows. I think these are our most heartfelt lyrics.
11. See You Around (3:36) - Originally titled “The Motley Crue Biography Is My Bible”, this song is all about falling for a bad girl who is nothing but the kind of trouble that is so ironically hard to resist.
12. Running Away (3:05) - We all get these feelings we cannot ignore. They are the isolation, alienation, misgiving and loathing we impose on ourselves. Somehow we must learn that life is waiting to begin, as soon as we give ourselves permission to live.
PropertyOfZack had the pleasure of interviewing Jon Berry of Runner Runner just a week or so ago. Jon and I discussed the band’s new release date and new material that will be appearing on their debut record as well as upcoming tours with both Ke$ha and A Rocket To The Moon. Read up and enjoy!
For the record, could you state your name and role in Runner Runner?
Hey, this is Jon Berry from Runner Runner. I play bass.
I listened to the finished version of the album sometime in June, and I thought at that point a late September release was far away. It was then revealed that the album would be coming out in mid-October and now do we even have a clear date for the release?
I know, we’ve had so many different releases and we keep pushing it back. The records going to be coming out late February, possibly early March. We’ve been working on the album a lot still, so what you have is not our record anymore [Laughs]. We had to cancel some shows to go back into the studio and record it. We’re working on getting the album mixed up the way that we want it to sound. We’ve been taking our time with the record, basically because we’re stoked on our music and we want to see how we want it to be. It’s coming out early next year.
Was the label the main push to redo some of the tracks, or did you guys decide you weren’t happy with everything?
We’re really happy with our label and we feel that we’re a good fit to the team. I think the label wanted us to maybe try out some of our other songs that we had written on our own. Our record got leaked online, so it was a great excuse for us to be like, “Our music’s out there, and we’re not totally stoked with all of the songs that we have on there. Lets just change it up and do it how we want it.” So we went back and recorded some new songs and I’m so happy with how they turned out. We’re going to change up some songs on the record that you have, swap some out, and we’re just making it as perfect as can be.
Was there worry with the fact that the record leaked in August and there was no set release date in mind?
At first, a little bit, but then I realized that that’s a part of music. Eventually it all gets leaked and people can download music, movies, anything legally nowadays. Honestly, it’s made us want to step up our game even more for when the real album came out. I want to say I’m fine with it. I just know that when we have our final record we’re going to be really happy with it and I know people are going to buy it, even if they have the old one. I feel like the one that leaked is more like a teaser for what’s to come.
Can you talk about any of the changes you guys have made with the new songs or how the songwriting was different from the initial phases of the record?
There’s this one song that we recorded called “Running Away From Myself” and it’s more serious. It’s more of an introspective song; it’s about being confused with life and what you’re doing with who you are. It’s a really cool song. I feel like it’s really relatable to people. It’s got kind of a darker feel. A lot of the songs have a darker feel, but still keep that drive that Runner Runner has. We also have some songs that are more fun, like this song called “Heart Attack.” It’s about being in a relationship with someone who just pretty much beats your soul. The girl was like a heart attack [Laugh]. The stresses of being in a relationship possibly with someone who isn’t too healthy for you. There’s a lot of cool content on these newer songs. I feel like that’s what we wanted to do. We wanted to widen the content of our record, and that’s what we did.
Do you guys see the release as a fresh start to 2011 that should hopefully set you up for a big year?
Yeah, I’m really excited for 2011. We’re booking tours right now. Our record’s going to come out. We’re really happy with how it’s turning out. we can’t wait to get a better mix on the songs on our first attempt. We’re going to get some of them remixed just to make them sound more fresh and I’m really excited.
Shifting a bit, Runner Runner is currently on tour with Forever The Sickest Kids and I See Stars. How’s that been to this point?
It’s been awesome. I love Forever The Sickest Kids, they’re friends of ours, they put on a great show, they’re awesome. All the kids who have come out to the shows have been great. We’ve made friends with I See Stars, they’re cool. It’s been a lot of fun. Tonight we’re in Memphis, TN. It’s going to be great.
Late, late summer you guys did a tour with Secondhand. Is this kind of a nice change to be more in your own genre?
Yeah, it’s cool. We had fun touring with Secondhand Serenade. I feel like we’re more with our peers, musically, on this tour, which is also very nice. We love playing with all types of artists and groups.
No more dates are set for the rest of the year, but when should we look out for an announcement on New Year dates?
We just confirmed a tour; we’re doing a full US tour, for almost two months long in March and April with A Rocket To The Moon. It’s going to be awesome. And we have some shows we’re doing with Ke$ha in February; about a week of shows on the west coast. We’re booking a lot more stuff as of right now.
POZ: Those should be some pretty crazy tours.
Jon: Yeah, it’s going to be really cool. I’m excited about it.
Is the main goal next year, for after the record drops, to stay out consistently throughout the whole year?
Yeah, our label’s going to keep us busy and we’re going to keep ourselves busy. We love making music and we love touring and meeting our fans. We love showing people Runner Runner, so we’re definitely going to be touring constantly next year.
Depending on how the record goes over, is an overseas venture something you’d like to attempt?
Definitely, we’d love to. I hope we go back to Japan. We went there about a year and a half ago. Hopefully when our record comes out we’ll hit up Japan again because we love playing Japan. We love our Japanese fans. They make us feel welcomes. Hopefully we can do Europe, Australia; I want to do it all. I love touring overseas, it’s great.
Obviously it has been such long time since the writing for the record has started, so is it safe to say that there’s a lot of newer material that isn’t even going to make the record that’s still worthy of a release?
Yeah, there is. We’re a band that writes and records music all the time on our own. We’re actually recording songs right now on our bus everyday. They’re catalogues upon catalogues of Runner Runner songs that we have written and recorded. We’ve got music for years [Laughs].
POZ: Would you guys be open to the idea of a smaller release like another EP in 2011?
Jon: Yeah, possibly. I feel like the music industry’s changing as far as releasing music. We’re going to put out our LP end of February/March and then who knows. Then we might release songs on a gradual basis after that. You’re always going to be hearing new music from us.
Is there anything else that we should be on the lookout for?
We’re going to be doing a lot of touring next year when our record comes out. We’re going to be announcing dates, probably soon, so just keep your ear out for us. Hit us up online and on Facebook. When we’re not playing shows, we’ll be online giving you the latest.
When Runner Runner came into New York City to play a benefit show with Boys Like Girls and Asher Roth they were kind enough to do a quick Session with PropertyOfZack. The band played with both “Hey Alli” and “So Obvious,” so enjoy!
(For Tumblr Users: Click the direct link to view the videos)
*This review was footage was filmed and edited by Zack Zarrillo
PropertyOfZack was lucky enough to be given the chance to interview Nick from Runner Runner last week. Nick could not have been more kind with his answers and stories. Read up to find out about their upcoming full-length, a brand new music video, and a lying ex!
For the record, could you state your name and role in Runner Runner?
Yo, what’s up? My name is Nick, I play guitar in Runner Runner.
You guys have been out on tour for a few weeks now and have another 10 or so days to go. How’s it been?
It’s been awesome on tour. We just finished up the record, which will be out in September and now we are out on the road playing some shows with Cartel. We have been hitting up some radio stations and performing “So Obvious” for the radio and playing club shows at night. And we have another month of that and then we go on tour with Secondhand Serenade all summer long.
So yeah, you had been playing with Amber Pacific and now you’re playing with Cartel, must be pretty excited for that, right?
Yeah, it’s awesome. It just feels good to be back on the road and to be playing live shows and getting in front of some people. It just feels good to be out of the studio and to be done with the record.
Do you like getting out in front of crowds that may not know Runner Runner to try to get a chance to win over news fans?
Absolutely. We love any opportunity to play for anyone we can.
Runner Runner, in the past, has opened up for a long list of pretty well known bands including All Time Low, Angels & Airwaves, and now Cartel. Do you ever get nervous for shows opening up for such large bands?
That’s a good question. No, at this point we love what we do and we’re all very excited for the record. So if it’s any kind of nervous it’s like excited nervous energy. We’re just so fired up to show the world our songs. We can’t wait for everyone to hear. So any chance we can get in a room full of people we just kind of want to like just blow up the spot and let everyone know about Runner Runner. We want to put on a show. We want people to watch us and be like “Who are these guys?” or if they already know who we are, “This was awesome, again.” We’re always just trying to put on a great show and just kill it.
When you guys do go out this summer with Secondhand should we expect you to play some more new songs?
Yeah, absolutely. We’ve been playing the song “Hate The Way” and of course we’ll be playing “So Obvious”. We’ll be playing a new song called “Falling” and we’ll also be playing a new song called “Life After You”. So expect to see some new songs this summer and some new tricks, and treats. Trick or treat, Halloween, in the summer time.
POZ: Nothing’s better than that!
Nick: That’s right.
The band just shot a music video a week or so ago for “So Obvious”. I hear you guys filmed it at a cool place too.
Yes, the video was awesome. It’s gonna be really funny. We had a really good time. I actually had to dive right into some acting. I felt pretty out of my element, to be totally honest with you. It was a lot of fun and the director, Travis; he was a really cool guy. But as far as the acting scene goes, I was definitely like laughing at myself over and over again. My scene…pretty much the idea of the video is that there’s a party scene and everyone’s on their cell phones and not really paying attention to Runner Runner or to each other. They’re just kind of caught up in their cell phone world and Ryan jams the signal and everyone starts to watch us play and have a good time and starts to party. So, my scene I’m kind of like Stiffler, the dude in American Pie. Not Stiffler…the guy who like seduces Stiffler’s mom. I’m like in this ridiculous Hugh Heffner robe just like trying to get this girl to pay attention to me in one of the bedrooms of the party and it’s not working out so well. Finally, when Ryan jams the signal this girl ends up pushing me in the shower and making out with me. It was…interesting.
POZ: When should we expect to see that released?
Nick: Hopefully the video should be out sometime this summer. I’m not sure of an exact date. I’d say hopefully within the next month. Actually, the single, “So Obvious”, officially comes out June 15th, so I’m gonna say hopefully around then the video drops.
When did you guys start the writing and recording process for the new record?
It’s funny you ask that because we started writing for this album pretty much when we started the band. “See You Around” was one of the first songs we wrote. It’s pretty cool how we can form our band and still bring some of the songs that we made in the very beginning to everyone at this point when we have the record ready to go.
Was it fun being in the studio for an extended period of time to record a full-length?
Oh yes, I love being in the studio. We always have a good time, there’s a really good vibe working with Dave Darling. He had a really good attitude in the studio and that kind of helped to bring out the best in everyone as far as musicianship and just a good mentality day-to-day, which is really important. You know, you’ve got to have a good vibe when you’re making a record. You can’t be uncertain or not having fun. All that stuff really comes out on the songs, so you just have to have a really great time and let it ride.
Runner Runner just recently signed to Capitol records and David Letterman’s label. What kind of a feeling is that?
It was awesome. The minute we signed the contract we got picked up in a G5 and there were Playboy Bunnies everywhere and basically they flew us to Dubai and stayed at a six star hotel and David Letterman was doing handstands down the hallway the whole time. No, I’m just kidding man. It’s awesome, we’re very lucky, and we feel very fortunate for this opportunity. We were able to hook up with the David Letterman label through our management, which is part of David Letterman’s production company. Through our management we were also able to get hooked up with Capitol and EMI and it feels great to have a team that believes in the band. We just couldn’t be more excited for the position we’re in.
What song are you most proud of on the album?
That’s a good question. I really like “See You Around”, honestly, the first song we wrote. It’s a funny story. So this girl that I dated around when the song was written…I totally fell for this girl, we met on Warped tour a couple years back. She was working on the tour. I thought she was a very nice girl and I started to really fall for her and then I came to find out from another friend that was on the tour told me that his girl was living another life. Like behind my back, partying, doing drugs, hooking up with other bands and I was just so bummed about the situation. I mean, there were a lot of red flags when I should have known better. This girl, her favorite book was The Dirt, the autobiography of Motley Crue. So we originally called it “The Motley Crue Biography Is My Bible”, but we had to change it to “See You Around” because it made more sense. I found out also that she was from Huntington Beach, where I live. So I decided to kind of be nice to saying goodbye to her, even though we both live in the same town I really don’t want to see you again after you’ve gotten tied up and whipped by other bands and are doing drugs behind my back.
POZ: Yeah, you might want to stay clear…
Nick: Yeah, you might want to stay away from her. So “See You Around” was born. Another song choice is “So Obvious”. We’re stoked that’s our first single. It’s awesome how people are reacting to the song.
So you said we should expect to se the record released in September?
Yes, September 28th.
Runner Runner are putting out a full-length album, just signed to a major label, are on tour with Cartel, and you have summer touring. After the record drops in September will we be seeing some more tour announcements?
Absolutely. We’re going to tour the rest of the year. We will definitely be letting you know very soon about the fall and winter plans. Also, we’re giving away out single for free right now at helprunnerrunner.com. So we’d love for everyone to go check that out and give us a download and play “So Obvious” as loud as you can with all your friends.