The Starting Line
Based on a True Story

The Starting Line - Based on a True Story

Okay, so let’s start with what we know:

  1. I’m a huge pop-punk kid. It’s the musical style I started listening to back in the day with MxPx and Blink-182. As much as musical purists will complain and moan, it’s the truth, and it’s my roots.
  2. I have been a pretty big fan of The Starting Line from their We the People Sessions back a few years now; however, everyone knows I was let down by their first full-length (Say It Like You Mean It) because I loathed some of the production by Mark Trombino.

I know, I know, so many people disagree with me on that one – but this is my vindication. The Starting Line return May 10th with their new full-length, Based on a True Story, produced by Tim O’Heir – and after hearing this album, it makes me bitter to think how the band’s last album may have sounded without Trombino on the dials. Yet, it makes me incredibly happy to finally have a CD that maximizes everything I’ve wanted this band to be for the past 4 years.

So how do you say a “pop-punk” band has matured. Well, it’s an interesting paradox – but The Starting Line have done it. While the sound is still catchy, the music still bouncy (albeit with slightly heavier undertones), and there are plenty of guaranteed sing along choruses – still, something beyond calls to me and tells me, “these boys have grown up, come into their sound, and are now clearly masters at what they do.”

(Editor note: The album technically begins with ‘Action’ – however, my advance did not have this song on it. I am assuming it’s an intro – but I’ll have to wait and find out like everyone else on May 10th.)

Making Love to the Camera

The song begins with an acoustic guitar, after a 22 second strum, the instruments hit. The song builds … and the lyrical struggle of the author fills the speakers. The strongest part of the song is clearly the chorus, Kenny is able to hold pauses on words just long enough to add an extra punch to their words.

Inspired by the $

Hmm, here’s a middle finger to the ‘industry.’ From the get go, it’s apparent Ken has mastered his vocal ability. He doesn’t sing in a constant nasal pitch, he allows his range to dictate where the song goes – it’s a great change for the band. Combine this with some half-screaming ‘gang’ vocals, repeated over and over, and you have a song I just can’t see 12 year olds liking.

Bedroom Talk

The song everyone’s parents will be hating when it gets stuck in their little one’s head. Scratch that, when it gets stuck in their heads they’ll be just as mad. The catchiest song I’ve heard in a very long time – and I can’t get this damn chorus out of my head. Have fun explaining to your significant other why you’re humming, “I’m gonna tear your ass up like we just got married” – I’ve gotten more than a few sharp looks from my girlfriend.

Surprise, Surprise

Surprise acts as a bridge from the band’s last album to their current album. It’s got the best parts of both CDs, and some of the best lyrics on the this album. It’s also a fair judge of how one will respond to the new album. Those loving this song will love the album, those not wanting any part of the sing-a-long pop, should stay clear.

There’s something about the way the weather turns warm and I just have a craving for an album exactly like this one. The windows go down, the music goes up, and each song increases my mood and helps me forget all the fucked up shit going on in my life.


The 6 minute ballad really showcases how a ballad should be done. It’s got the storyline, the strings, the lyrics, and the chorus that you’ll be screaming.


The title basically says it all. It’s a look into the band’s mindset, after having being on tour for the last few years. It’s my least favorite song on the album – but it’s got a good beat, and a fast pace – it’s just nothing that sticks in my memory.

Artistic License

This song gets going almost a 2 minutes into it – that’s where you realize everything has built up to the moment when Ken can howl, “I’ll try not to scream while you’re trying to sleep..” – which turns out to be the defining moment of this mid-paced song.

Stay Where I Can See You

We all know what happens when I become emotionally attached to a song. I become a rabid-psycho-fan. This is one of those songs. It’s got that emotional appeal, and it’s going to be stuck in your head – for years. Toe tapping aside, it’s my favorite song on the album. The first time I heard, “I can name all 50 states, 48 get in the way of me being next to you” – I knew the feeling, and having that connection really stays with you. This song could be huge, I’m warning you now – that if this hits the airwaves, it could blow up.

My favorite parts of the CD are in the breathless moments. It’s been a while since I’ve been so captivated by pauses,”ooohs” and “ahhhs” – and the emotion seems to pour from each word of this album. I don’t know how I am going to feel 6 months from now – but for right now, this is exactly what the doctor ordered. This is the CD the “air guitar player” inside of me has been waiting for.

B List

Hello chorus. Damn this band can write a song that makes you jump around. This is one of the songs I think will sound even better live, and another song that showcases to me that The Starting Line are a band deserving of much more credit and respect then they currently hold.

The World

Life’s depressing – The Starting Line is not. Hand claps, positive lyrics, and one of my favorite lines “.. all I need is a hook now, for us to shout, shout, shout these words out ..” – compliment a song with a really upbeat message, and the perfect driving song.


Just get ready for this song. I don’t really know what to say about it besides that it’s one of the best songs the band has ever written. Including Max from Say Anything doesn’t hurt – and there are even a few lines/parts reminicent of Max’s band. The repeating of lines, the increasing urgency, and how it all climaxes at the perfect moment – are the makings of an audio orgasim.

Cut! Print it!:

Nothing works more than a song about closure, as the song that closes out the album. Not gonna lie, I feel like burning just this song on a CD for someone I know.

There you have it. The new Starting Line album broken down through it’s story – as heard by me. It’s almost May, and we’ve already heard a lot of “good” albums, we’ve heard a lot of “catchy” albums, and we’ve even had quite a few “amazing” albums – but I don’t think any of us really saw this one coming. I figured it would be good, I never expected it to be great. I’m glad I was wrong.

Congratulations to the Starting Line – they made the album that makes me wish wish I was in a band so I could have written it. I’d never be able to do anything artsy like Mars Volta, or as deep as Arcade Fire – because I’d want it to sound like this: uplifting and incredibly fun to listen to.

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