I admit that I am, occasionally, jealous of kids these days. (By “kids,” I mean “youth in their late teens and early twenties,” not “small children.”) They have so many things that would have made my life a heck of a lot easier back in the early 1990s when I was in college. Things like cell phones with cheap unlimited minutes (the better to call one’s long-distance boyfriend in St. Louis or Country Club Hills or Champaign or Ottawa or Bloomington, Indiana without racking up $300 in dorm room telephone bills), instant messaging (see “cell phones”), and MySpace (the better to meet more long-distance boyfriends with which to communicate). The internet could have opened up a whole new world of trouble for 19-year-old me. I could have had six boyfriends in six different cities instead of just three boyfriends in three different cities!
Then I catalog the new CD by Hawthorne Heights, and I remember one thing that we old farts in our 30s have on kids these days: our music was better. Record labels might have pulled some gimmicky shit on us back then, but they never released the same album with “boy” and “girl” cover art. At least, I don’t think they did, unless it was some kind of riot grrrl trickery, like how Huggy Bear would play girls-only shows.
So do I catalog them separately? The content is the same, other than the stupid promotional “bonus CD” that Victory Records threw in for the sole purpose of vexing me greatly. The bonus CD in the “girl” version features Silverstein and June, two bands which I suspect are very earnest but not very talented. The artwork on the bonus CD is, ostensibly, kinda girly, and the bands pictured are cute in that Seth Cohen/sensitive girlyboy kind of way. The “J” in June is dotted with a plus sign, a clever typographical conceit that, okay, I kind of like in a sick way. The bonus CD in the “boy” version features some band called Atreyu, which may be a bastardized version of the word “atrium,” or it could just be something they thought sounded cool while they were really, really high. The cover art is distinctively more masculine, with the band employing a stereotypical “death metal” typeface for its logo and photos of a young man squinting and holding his temples, as if someone is forcing him to listen to, say, Hawthorne Heights. The band members pictured look like that ugly guy who hangs out in the corner of the goth club who everyone, even the goths who are fangs-and-all into the whole scene, thinks is really, really creepy. Or like a low-budget Gerard Way–same pudgy face, same raccoonish eye makeup, but something’s just…off. I suspect that I could technically throw out the bonus CD and just catalog the album, but someone might be interested in the bonus CD, and I generally prefer to keep them. The problem is that keeping the bonus CD means that the content between the two albums is different, and my CatalogerSense tells me that I’ll need two records to account for the difference in content.
Hold up! I just discovered another difference in the two versions, albeit not one that would justify separate records for the two versions. On the CD art of the “girl” version, there’s a photo of a young girl (made up and dressed to look really, really underage, I’m talking eleven-year-old underage) holding a bouquet of flowers. She’s gazing straight at the camera, with a defiant-ish look on her face, probably thinking something like “Chad gave me this bouquet of daisies and carnations, and that’s cool and all, but I’m still…sad. Empty. You know how it is, girls. I think I am going to smash his heart into teeny-tiny bits now. He’ll never recover. Muahahahahahaha!” On the “boy” version, it’s the same girl and the same flowers, but her head is tilted downward, she has a half-smile on her face, and she’s smelling the flowers. She’s content. She’s pleased with her emoboy’s offering.
If this album had been released prior to fall of 2002, it would have made for a great microanalysis project for my Feminist Media Studies class. It certainly would have made for better conversation than the chick-lit book cover that I analyzed.