Let’s time travel back to 2001 again and the early age of mp3 sharing. In past Lost Gems sections, I’ve waded into my nostalgia for the heyday of young pop punk and emo bands capitalizing on the file-sharing era to spread their songs across the country in hopes of finding enough new fans in each state to mount a break-even tour.
Let’s be honest; most of these bands were extremely average. Their three to four chord songs and nasally voices were interchangeable, and most were lucky to stumble upon a memorable hook. If they happened to write a song that I can still look back fondly on almost 19 years later – then they certainly deserve a pat on the back.
One such song is “Lucky Summer Sky” by Category Five. Like so many group’s from that time, their digital footprint is light, but unlike other groups, the band’s album is available on streaming services! They’re from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (their song “Dreams” makes a reference to western PA), and formed in 1999 under the name Exit 3, and changed their name with the addition of a new bass player. Their one full album Nervous & Worried is a collection of the style of pop punk you would expect from the early 00’s, with the exception of the pining, acoustic-led song mentioned earlier.
Opening on somber acoustic chords, with light keyboard accompaniment, the singer’s young, imperfect voice works to convey the uncertainty of the lyrics. The track is full of wistful lovelorn (“I wish we could freeze frame or maybe rewind, back to the days when life was just fine”), but also takes a surprising inward look (“She grabbed me by the hand and then she said, maybe you should look at yourself again. I still don’t feel like me”). Those lines definitely struck a chord when I first heard them, and they remain effective all these years later.
Take a listen to this lost gem!