Remove ads, unlock a dark mode theme, and get other perks by upgrading your account. Experience the website the way it's meant to be.

The Dangerous Summer – The Dangerous Summer

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Jan 22, 2018.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    More than any band I’ve ever loved, I associate The Dangerous Summer with a specific time and place. For three tumultuous summers, as I flailed about recklessly in the no-man’s land between youth and adulthood, there was no band on the planet that meant more to me. The summer of 2009 was encapsulated in the strains of their debut, Reach for the Sun, which caught me in the wake of my high school graduation as I wondered what the next chapter would hold. Their sophomore record, War Paint, played a similar role in the summer of 2011, which followed the worst semester of my life and forced me to question my dreams, my college major, and my entire view of my future. The summer in between was the one where I fell in love with the girl who I would marry, and I still remember driving home late at night from her house, feeling every note and every word of songs like “Northern Lights” and “Never Feel Alone.”

    The Dangerous Summer never meant as much to me outside of those summers, or away from that town. This band was the soundtrack of growing up and of magical, lively Julys and Augusts in the town where I grew up—summers where the nights seemed to stretch on forever and the possibilities felt like they were truly endless. Once I finished college and left my hometown behind, it felt like The Dangerous Summer might not have anything left to say about my life. Hearing them again in the summer 2013—the summer after I finished college and tried to make a play for adulthood and the “real world”—the songs played like pale imitations of what I’d loved before. True, that year’s Golden Record was simply a sizable step down from the band’s peak. Even if it hadn’t been, though, I’m not sure it would have resonated with me personally. Again, this was a “time and place” band, and hearing them outside of that time and away from that place felt almost grotesque. It made me miss everything I’d left behind.

    As I write these words, I’m sitting in the living room of the first house my wife and I have ever owned together. I’m surrounded by boxes filled with most of our belongings. The art that used to hang on the walls is stacked in the corner and the bookshelves that used to be filled with novels are completely empty. In three days, I will leave this house behind and never again call it home. Instead, we’re moving back to our real home, to the town where we grew up and went to high school. The town where we fell in love. The town where I heard so many songs and albums for the first time, and where I felt them so viscerally.

    Amidst all of this, it feels so appropriate to be listening to a new Dangerous Summer album. Like many other fans, I was so sure for so long that we would never hear another album from this band. And like so many other fans, I wasn’t sure I wanted one. Golden Record left a bad taste in my mouth, and not just because the songwriting had taken a sharp decline. This band’s antics—particularly those of founding member and rhythm guitarist Cody Payne—had turned me off and made it so much harder for me to think of The Dangerous Summer fondly. Knowing that my last few years of youth had been soundtracked by the music of assholes and buffoons, it almost made me sick.

    But things have changed. Cody Payne is gone, for one. The Dangerous Summer circa 2018 is vocalist AJ Perdomo, drummer Ben Cato, and guitarist Matt Kennedy (formerly of The Graduate). Perdomo is the only remaining founding member. By all accounts, The Dangerous Summer is a fresh start.

    The music has changed, too. While the songs still sound like patent Dangerous Summer material (how could they not, with AJ’s distinctive gritty vocals?) the lyrics come from a very different place. The songs on Reach for the Sun and War Paint wore the angst and emotion of growing up proudly on their sleeves. Navigating the triumphs and pitfalls of love and relationships; bearing the weight of new responsibilities; becoming comfortable in your own skin; leaving home. These themes and others were prevalent on the first two Dangerous Summer LPs, and they are part of the reason those albums played so well for anyone who was between the ages of 15 and 30 when they came out.

    The Dangerous Summer is subtler and more reflective. There are fewer breakup songs. There aren’t as many bridges that build to shattering emotional conclusions. Instead, of writing songs about growing up, AJ Perdomo is now writing songs about being grown up. “I wish every person that I knew was in one room right now/We’d drink until we die,” he sings on lead single “Fire.” “I’m talking ‘bout all my friends/I talk of the wars we fought back then/We’re getting older now/But we’re never giving in.” Those lines might as well be the thesis statement for the album.

    The theme of looking back manifests itself repeatedly throughout these 10 tracks. Sometimes, the recollections are fond. On “When I Get Home,” Perdomo sings about the place and the people that built him. “When I get home/Gonna call my friends/We’ll party ‘til the morning comes/I feel so lucky I could die/I feel so lucky I could have this in my life/It’s what keeps me true.” Other times, the recollections ache with regret. “Ghosts” is about the person you loved when you were young who you can never quite shake. “How I speak to God is how I speak to you,” AJ sings, because he can’t ever stop having one-sided conversations with this girl in his head. She’s every summer, every red dress, and every hazy, half-remembered night, and he can’t rid his mind of the thought of her, even though he wants to.

    Most often, the songs on The Dangerous Summer resonate with surprising maturity and wisdom. On “Luna,” a song written for (and named after) AJ’s daughter, he encourages her to “Stay wild as long as you can,” because that’s probably the advice most of us could give to our younger selves. And on “Live Forever,” he hits the flipside of the homecoming euphoria we heard on “When I Get Home.” “All my friends are still in London/We talk sometimes, it’s like nothing’s ever changed,” AJ bellows on the big, shout-along chorus. As you get older, your hometown shifts. It transforms from the place where you and your friends raised hell to a place where kids 10 or 20 years younger than you are doing the same thing. The scenery stays the same—at least mostly—but the characters change. Going home as an adult usually means reckoning with the fact that most of your friends don’t live there anymore. Many of them probably don’t even live in the same state. A few might not live in the same country.

    As I sit here listening to these songs and writing these words, I ponder what going back home will mean for me now. I’ve never lost touch with the place I grew up. I got married there. I still have family there. I’ve spent every Christmas I can remember there. But yeah, things are different now, just like it’s different when I go back and listen to the band that defined my life when I was 18 or 19 or 20. The Dangerous Summer is an older, wiser, less hooky record from a band that once made me revel in all the recklessness and feeling of youth. Sometimes, though, I hear moments on this record and it’s like it’s the summer of 2009 again, with all the promise and uncertainty that season held. The knockout, gut-punch closing track—fittingly titled “Infinite”—is one of those moments. “Those unending nights, well they mean everything,” Perdomo sings in the evocative first verse, and it’s like he’s describing every minute I spent listening to his band all those years ago.

    Timing is random, but it’s what makes music feel like magic sometimes. If this record had come out a year ago, I’m not sure what it would have meant to me. It might have been another Golden Record, an album from a band I used to love that didn’t strike a chord with me and where I was in my life. But hearing a song like “When I Get Home” today gives me all the same goosebumps I used to get from “I Would Stay” or “Weathered” or “No One’s Gonna Need You More.” “It’s still my home,” Perdomo sings at the end of the verses. For both the music and the place I’m going back to, those words ring true.

  2. Great review. Can't wait for Friday
    Mr. Serotonin likes this.
  3. Ryan

    Might be Spider-Man...

    Cant' wait to hear this thing
    Mr. Serotonin likes this.
  4. noKings


    Let's goooooooooo
  5. Oh shit I am so excited to hear this record. I'm excited to love a TDS record like I used to. Great review.
  6. AshlandATeam


    So... I loved TDS. I loved Reach for the Sun, War Paint. Even defended Golden Record.

    But the shenanigans became too much, particularly when I ended up being one of the ones who got stolen from (the RFTS 'autographed' chord book that didn't have anything in it I had bought it for, and turned out to be a scam). And now, I just can't listen to them without thinking about that. In the same way that some bands and records have good nostalgia attached to them, this band might have too much bad.

    Which sucks. This does seem like a fresh start, and Cody is gone and the new songs seem solid. But there's just a bad taste in my mouth I can't wash out for some reason. Hopefully that happens some day.
  7. justin.

    Trusted Supporter

    It feels so damn good to know a new TDS album is being released this week.
  8. Craig Manning

    @FurtherFromSky Moderator

    I feel lucky that I never was put in a situation where I felt ripped off by them. I know quite a few fans have those horror stories, and I think it would be harder for me to listen again if I were in your shoes.
    Mr. Serotonin and Jason Tate like this.
  9. Jonathan

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Verified

    I have no horse in this race, but I'd recommend giving them a shot, you might be surprised. Cody isn't in the band anymore, and I truly feel like he was a huge anchor for them.
    Craig Manning likes this.
  10. Brent

    Trusted Prestigious

    So excited for the Raleigh show next week.
  11. Ryan G

    Moderator Moderator

    This review gave me a lot of hope for this. Reach for the Sun and War Paint mean more to me than almost any other records I've ever heard and might even be my top two most played of all time - definitely up there - but I've been worried that TDS won't be able to capture that same magic on this. I know you have a similar love of those two albums, so reading this made me feel way better about it all. I'm very excited to hear this record and much less apprehensive than I have been.
    Mr. Serotonin and Craig Manning like this.
  12. RileyWitiw

    more like Supporter

    Actually very excited for this!
  13. Craig Manning

    @FurtherFromSky Moderator

    Those two records are definitely up there with my most-played, too. War Paint in 2011 is probably the most I've ever listened to a single album in a calendar year. I don't think this album is on the same level as those two, but a fair bit of it does recapture that magic for me. I especially love the last three tracks. I hope it resonates with you as well. I know a big part of it for me is timing, so I'll be interested to see what other people think about it.
    SamLevi11 and Ryan Gardner like this.
  14. justin.

    Trusted Supporter

    Same here!
    Brent likes this.
  15. artbynickferran

    Incredible review my friend. I've been listening to this album for the past few months, and I echo most everything your wrote. I still had some memories and feelings soundtracked by 'Catholic Girls' and 'Knives' but it still didn't resonate with me as much as the first two records. And while this one doesn't *quite* recapture that magic, I don't think it tries to or needs to. I would highly recommend it as well.
    Craig Manning and astereo like this.
  16. Jusscali

    Trick or Treat Mfer Prestigious

    I still feel like I’ll be disappointed. But I really want to hear it already.
    Craig Manning and slickdtc like this.
  17. Bayside 182

    Wolverine Supporter

    Nice write up! Excited to hear this on Friday! I heard that if not for Dale Jr. getting into this band and becoming good friends with AJ, then this new record might not have even happened. If thats true, its the first time I'd be happy about anything related to auto racing :-)
    Craig Manning and FTank like this.
  18. morken

    Not everything means something, honey Supporter

    I have now idea if I'll still like TDS (loved reach for the sun and war paint) but this is a fantastic review nonetheless! Made me want to check out the album come Friday.
    Craig Manning likes this.
  19. Histrionics


    Good review. Can't wait for this.
  20. SamLevi11

    Trusted Prestigious

    I have VERY similar feelings towards the first two TDS records as Craig describes. War Paint is one of my favourite records ever, and it holds such strong memories for me.

    I'm not expecting this to be on that level, I'm just happy to have them, and AJ's lyrics, back in my life.

    Can't wait to see them in Birmingham. Gonna try pester AJ for them to play Parachute.
    Craig Manning likes this.
  21. brentkid


    Interested to hear the entire thing. So far I've been pretty underwhelmed by the new songs.
    Brent likes this.
  22. Blake Solomon

    Mr. Emeritus Prestigious

    Seems our relationships to the band are similar. And as I’m getting married in less than a month I feel like this will be a doozy of a record for me.

    I’ve only heard maybe one song released and it was fun to hear but didn’t shatter expectations so we will see how it all sounds in context. Very excited.
    Craig Manning likes this.
  23. Craig Manning

    @FurtherFromSky Moderator

    "Catholic Girls" and "Miles Apart" mean a lot to me and bring back some good memories. The rest of the record never stuck. It's so weirdly sequenced and so inconsistent in mood/quality that I just have trouble listening all the way through.

    I didn't love "Fire" the first time I heard it, but I really like it in context. It makes more sense with the themes of the other songs around it/knowing that this record is a little less driven by hooks than their first couple.
    artbynickferran likes this.
  24. slickdtc

    Regular Supporter

    Count me as another who experienced TDS’ big LP’s at a crucial time in life (the EP is probably my favorite). This review was like reading my own thoughts and feelings. Incredibly well written post, vivid.
    Craig Manning likes this.
  25. kelseyleigh

    Trusted Supporter

    I loved Reach For the Sun and this review makes me excited to check out the new record.