Not Just Another Face – An Ode To A Philly Band Called Modern Baseball
I’ve forgotten a lot of things in my life, but I know for sure that I’ll never forget hearing Modern Baseball for the first time. I’ll never forget the warmth their raw sound made me feel as if crept through the headphones wires and into my ears – The Weekend was the first song I heard, like many others.
It’s funny because Modern Baseball have always been important to me, but in a low stakes, comforting kind of way ; not second best, because that would never be good enough for them. More like a comforting soft blanket you put away for the summer and find again when September starts dropping degrees and leaves alike. Like something that feels like the most fleeting feeling of all : the feeling of being at home.
‘Home’, with a capital H, has always been a foreign concept to me as I spent my life being chewed up and spit back out by various systems, and I’ve known myself to find home in unconventional places – where I went to college was and still is home. The illegal part of Paris’ abandoned train tracks, overgrown by nature and anarchist graffiti, was home. My old best friend’s living room where we listened to You’re Gonna Miss It All on an 80's record player was a little bit of home.
All of these places have come and gone out of my life, but Modern Baseball never have. They’ve always been there, always accessible when I needed them, like a friend who’d say “when you’re ready to talk I’m right here”, after an episode where you isolate yourself from the world and let yourself float away.
I have gone through a whole palette of emotion listening to these songs over the years and now, as I’m finally making a home, a real home, a capital H home, for the first time in my life, Modern Baseball are quietly fading out. Them taking a break isn’t about me, never was and never will be, but I find comfort in the timing being right for once when it’s so often wrong.
I also find comfort in knowing that from now on MoBo will be a friendly ghost, the kind that holds the door open sometimes when I leave my bedroom for a few minutes. And in the way the good times I had that were soundtracked to their music will live on forever ; so will the bad times, and the times the music was too eerily similar to my headspace, but that’s okay. It wouldn’t be Modern Baseball if it didn’t include some bad, weird, or straight up gross feelings.
The chorus to Just Another Face will still reduce me to tears because it’ll always hit too hard ; The Thrash Particle will always make me think of relationships that never were, or almost were, or shouldn’t have been. But in a similar way, The Weekend will always remind me of the friends I left behind over the sea and how it felt to be drunk on New Year’s Eve screaming the chorus in each other’s faces ; Rock Bottom will always remind me of skipping classes and sitting on the riverbanks with cupcakes from a shop that’s long closed during a friendship that’s six feet under.
I also find solace in knowing that one day I’ll see glimpses of Modern Baseball in unexpected places. I’ll hear the line “I’m going to bed tonight in my Modern Baseball hoodie” in Living Room Song and smile. I’ll listen to new bands, because they will come, and my friends will recommend them, and I’ll hear a tiny amount of MoBo’s sharp edge in there.
And yet, even though this is all far from over, I still feel the need to stop for a while and reflect. The world and its inhabitants are uncertain, and I can’t know for sure that Modern Baseball will come back, though I really hope they will.
But even further than that, I just don’t think I could let them go quietly, even for a brief moment – MoBo are/were/will be one of the brightest bands of the last ten years, and it doesn’t feel appropriate to not acknowledge it. It’s not quite an eulogy, but more of a toast of sorts ; these clumsy words I spit out right there onto the screen are my thank you gift for all the feelings, the memories and all the time I spent dancing to Your Graduation in my underwear.
So goodbye for now, Modern Baseball. And hopefully, see you soon. I’ll be there when you’re ready.