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Hoobastank – Hoobastank

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  1. Melody Bot

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    In a music landscape filled with some odd band names, Hoobastank may have taken the prize for strangest moniker. On their self-titled major label debut, the band came roaring out of the gate with a strong debut single in “Crawling in the Dark” that rose as high as the top three on Billboard’s Modern Rock chart. One thing that many people don’t know about the band is that this record is actually their second full-length record with the independently released They Sure Don’t Make Basketball Shorts Like They Used To, that featured a horn section and not too much material within the same realm as Hoobastank. I discovered this band in a similar way as others, by seeing their first music video on MTV2 and then promptly buying my first concert ticket to see them at the 9:30 Club. Their live show was filled with pulse-pounding drums (courtesy of Chris Hesse), the brilliant riffing from guitarist Dan Estrin, and anthemic vocals from Doug Robb. During this concert, they played two tracks from their independent debut, “Earthsick” and the song closest to the sound they would go for on their Island Records’ debut on “Stuck Without a Voice.” This concert made me a life-long fan of the band, and they would go on to achieve remarkable success on their subsequent record called The Reason, where the title track made them a household name. This meteoric rise made the radio ready rock band Hoobastank something that ironically everyone would know exactly what you’re talking about.

    This album blasts off with their first single called “Crawling in the Dark,” that had everything you would have come to expect from a modern rock band during the early 00’s. The song had a great opening guitar riff, solid vocal hooks and a memorable chorus for staying power on the rock charts. The song would immediately give Hoobastank a platform for their music and led to a memorable touring stint opening for Incubus on a comprehensive US tour of medium-sized arenas. Their second single of “Running Away” would even be more successful, and peaked at #2 on the Billboard Modern Rock charts. This song would establish the band as a certified up-and-comer that should be taken seriously, even if their band name raised eyebrows.

    By the time the band had released their third and final single from the record in “Remember Me,” Hoobastank was solidifying their presence on rock radio throughout the country. They were featured on several radio festivals and their commitment to touring relentlessly would eventually lead to a platinum certification of this album.

    The rest of the material, outside of the successful singles, is kind of a mixed bag. The aggressive “Pieces” was a crowd-pleasing song that usually kicked off their live sets more often than not, while “Up and Gone” featured a great bass line from Markku Lappalainen that would help bring some variety into their major label debut. The ballads of “Let You Know” and “To Be With You” each had their moments, and potentially could’ve been singles if given the right push. While this record is filled with so many great-sounding singles, I didn’t find myself finding it as a perfect album as the material surrounding the “hits” sound like a band trying to find their footing towards the future.

    Hoobastank is a record that I will always look fondly back upon, if nothing else for the nostalgia of the band being my first stand-alone concert that wasn’t part of a larger festival. Looking back with fresh ears on this album brings back so many great memories, and I feel like this album rightfully stayed within my college album rotation for a reason. This album would precede my exploration into pop-punk and emo throughout the “golden years” of the scene, and lead to a remarkable run of stellar-sounding records that I still cherish to this very day. Hoobastank may have not found much success outside of this album and The Reason, but I’m truly glad to have their music living on.


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