It seems like just yesterday I was discovering this “new band” my college roommate told me about called Thursday. The first song he played for me was “Understanding in a Car Crash,” and I was immediately drawn into the world of the post-hardcore/emo blend of magic that Thursday were able to accomplish on their sophomore record, Full Collapse. This album seemed destined to be huge, and had so many things going for it upon its release. For starters, the album was released during the so-called “golden age” of emo, with so many legendary bands releasing music during this time period. Secondly, Thursday were graced with a talented, energetic, and captivating front-man in the form of Geoff Rickly, who is now seen as a bona fide legend in our scene. Lastly, Thursday were brilliant at creating larger than life guitar hooks courtesy of their dual-attack by Tom Keeley and Steve Padulla. Rounding out the band were the ultra-talented bass player Tim Payne, and drummer Tucker Rule who were all up to the task of stepping up to the plate to create this legendary album. Full Collapse is a raw, visceral, post-punk blend of hardcore elements packaged for the masses, while still remaining endearing enough for longtime fans of Thursday to reminisce on discovering this band they had in their back pocket. This album would launch Thursday directly into the mainstream of emo bands on the tips of every tongue mentioning an influential band during this time period, and not to mention record executives falling over themselves to sign them to a major label. As much as has been written about the labels associated with Thursday, its more important to look at how the music from this album has stood the test of time.
The record blasts off on the right foot with the lead single, “Understanding in a Car Crash,” and it still packs as big of a punch as what I remember from my first listen. Geoff Rickly paints the scene with the opening lyrics, “Splintered piece of glass falls, in the seat, gets caught / These broken windows, open locks, reminders of the youth we lost / In trying so hard to look away from you / We followed white lines to the sunset / I crash my car everyday the same way.” The dramatic imagery and comparisons to his own life are equally powerful in Rickly’s lyrics. This song was destined to be a smash due to its tight musicianship and surefire production.
”Concealer” follows the brilliant opening single with a speedy and aggressive tone to open the track. The band changes up the pace for a melodic chorus as Rickly sings, “You stole the rain / Then you turned around and tore my life in two / Just like the picture that once hung on the wall in the room that we used to share / So fold me up and put me back in the place where you used to keep your heart.” The unique starts and stops on many of these songs kept listeners on their toes as Thursday never conformed to what a song “should” be. Other songs in the early half of the set like “Autobiography of a Nation” further solidified the power of the band to go from melodic highs, to aggressive lows, to everything in between. Rickly’s ability to go from clean vocals to an emotive scream was seamless throughout this album.
”A Hole in the World” remains one of my most cherished and favorite Thursday songs due to its beautiful opening guitar riff and great lyrical imagery. Lyrics like, “We fell in this hole that opened up / Giving up on hope / Living without love / We still type black lines / When the world is crashing down / These notes will fold themselves,” still hold their weight today and have got me through tough times in my own life. The piano towards the end of the track showcased the experimental nature of Thursday, and they would utilize new sounds and instruments later as their careers unfolded.
”Cross Out the Eyes” was the only other single from this album, which is incredibly surprising given the commercial success of the record. The track is a blistering mix of melodic elements blended with screams to showcase the raw emotion of the song. Drummer Tucker Rule puts in some of his best work on this song, and his unique beats remain unpredictable, complex, and yet meaningful to the power of the song. Even the quieter parts of the track, like the bridge of near-spoken vocals, “It was the first time face to face / I’m crossing the line / Talking to the other side of death / Hearing the words that choke memories into flatlines / I’m calling your name hoping for something to wash these dreams of you away” all hold serious weight to each and every word.
The back half of the record opens with “Paris in Flames,” and remains a set staple whenever Thursday are performing live. The track stays true to the stylistic choices made on Full Collapse, yet has enough intricate parts within it to make it stand apart. My favorite verse comes towards the end of the song when Rickly speaks the words, “Discard this message / Throw this bottle back in the ocean / Rip this page from the history books / Smash all the street signs / Erase all the maps / Forget my name / Forget my face / Forget my name / Because it’s going to rain (it’s going to rain) / And it never ends.” Whether Rickly is singing, speaking, or screaming, his lyrics are all top-notch throughout this legendary LP.
Other songs in the back half that still sound as fresh as they’ve ever been are “Standing On The Edge Summer” (the closest Thursday gets to a ballad on this album) and the beautifully tragic composition of “Wind Up.” On the latter track, the tempo changes keep listeners directly engaged and interested as the song hits its intended target. It all builds up nicely to the one-two album closing punch of “How Long is the Night” and “I1100.” On “How Long is the Night,” Thursday hits the perfect mix of melodic guitar parts to pair with Rickly’s vulnerable vocals, and yet they turn the song on its head several times for more aggressive guitar tones when necessary to bring out the raw emotion of Rickly’s screams.
I’m incredibly lucky to have lived through this renaissance of emo music that came at the perfect time in my life. I was just starting to regularly go to concerts and experience so many thrilling moments that brought songs and albums like Full Collapse to life in ways that I could have never imagined. Our scene may never see another spread of time where there were this many great bands exploding into the scene all at the same time, and creating some of the most legendary records that many of us still keep in our regular rotation. This record would launch Thursday into the stratosphere of notoriety in the emo/punk scene, and through their recent reunion tours, its great to see that they continue to make an effort to keep this music alive.