Five years ago, The Story So Far was regarded as one of pop-punk’s most talented and popular bands in the genre. The five piece was a Warped Tour staple and nobody could escape the catchy hooks and harsh yet familiar vocal style of lead singer, Parker Cannon. When the band first came onto the scene, they quickly garnered a loyal and vast fan base, comprised of listeners from different alternative niche genres. Under Soil and Dirt, the band’s first effort, was a great introduction to the then up-and-coming band from the Bay Area. The Story So Far’s sophomore release, What You Don’t See, attracted many more fans especially due to the fact that the band employed musician, Steve Klein of New Found Glory fame as one of the main producers.
In the era they became popular in, pop-punk bands were coming onto the scene right and left and were disappearing just as fast as they came on. However, The Story So Far conquered on.
Fast forward to 2015 when the band released their third album, The Story So Far. By the time this effort was released, indie rock was the new ‘thing’ amongst music fans and heavier leaning music was out. Along with that, was also The Story So Far. Many pop-punk fans began brushing off the band’s music and dismissing it as repetitive and redundant. Cannon was criticized for his painstakingly similar lyrical content and the band as a whole was constantly patronized for their lack of ability to evolve their sound. Of course though, the band still played Warped Tour and toured the album regardless of what listeners and critics claimed.
I don’t think the band themselves would attest to this, but they took a long break from 2015-2018 — a hiatus if you will. Again, the band did in fact tour, but they weren’t as active in the press or on social media like they were seen prior. Whatever the band did in that time span really payed off. They obviously worked on new music and tried to redefine their sound and presence, as one can gather currently. In 2017, when they released the single “Out of It”, fans were shocked yet pleased with how drastic the band changed their sound and look. Cannon wasn’t literally yelling into the microphone like he was seen previously, drummer Ryan Torf was not longer heavily pounding on the drums but instead refined his craft, and the cover art featured all members on a 35mm photo, all simple observations but very different for the band.
The three singles from the upcoming album, Proper Dose, that the band have recently released have gone even farther in the opposite direction of music the band was known for making. When I first hit play on the track “Upside Down” I was struck with a pang of confusion. Was this truly The Story So Far? On the song, Cannon SINGS. Yes, he sings on every other TSSF track — he is the lead SINGER, but on “Upside Down” listeners truly gain insight into what Cannon is singing about due to his newly mellow and polished vocal style.
The other track recently released “Take Me as You Please” truly shows Cannon’s vocal talent, something I never really got to experience on the band’s older work. The lyrical content is different. Acoustic guitars drive the entire track. If this song didn’t say it was by The Story So Far, I would never put this track in their catalog.
Although this has nothing to do with the band’s music, I’ve noticed how much the band has focused on their aesthetic and the artistic aspect of their album covers and merch. Can it be that The Story So Far is picking up the aesthetic of an up-and-coming indie band? Something I know the band would call me out on if they read this article. Although if it’s true, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing either. Each press photo I’ve seen come out from TSSF features warm and neutral tones and almost 95% of them are taken on film.
I should also include that when I saw The Story So Far in July, all members focused on their individual instruments. Sure, they all still had a blast playing to the crowd, but Cannon resided center stage and sang into a mic now instead of bouncing around the stage like he did previously. The reasoning behind this is because the band simply grew up.
Change is good and evolving in crucial. The industry is tough for any artist whether they’ve established a name for themselves or not. I should also clarify since it seems as though I’ve been criticizing them through this entire article but The Story So Far is one of my favorite bands. I feel like they needed the criticisms of the press and fans in order to move in this different direction. I feel as though the band has put out some of the best work of their careers with these three new singles and I truly cannot wait to see what we get from Proper Dose when it comes out in September.
Keep up with The Story So Far:
Twitter // @thestorysofarca
Instagram // @thestorysofarca