What’s common about “Common Existence”?

Steven Bushong

My roommates think Thursday’s new album, “Common Existence,” is loud and annoying. I think the vibrating floor is enjoyable.

It helps me rattle back in memory to the melodramatic days of high school, when I wrote a short story that went like this: A young driver, someone you could know, barrels toward a crossroads in a Sedan. He doesn’t see a stop sign, which is obscured by the excitement of driving after midnight with his friends. As the car enters the intersection, a delivery truck was passing through.

At this point in the story – rather, in the soundtrack that was playing in my head – the band Thursday tumbles into the syncopated climax of (what else?) “Understanding in a Car Crash.”

At 17, I felt destroyed every time I listened to that song, and for that matter, the remainder of “Full Collapse,” the band’s acclaimed 2001 album. But the destruction healed me as it reverberated through my mind, singling out the mental ills that made me sad and danced with them.

Real quick:

THURSDAY, Common Existance

Released by


Stater rating (out of five): ☆☆☆☆ & 1/2

Thursday wrote the music of my angsty teenage heart, where the stories and poems I wrote came from. Thursday and I, we were a dysfunctional, symbiotic duo. And then I grew up.

Yet, “Common Existence,” their latest release, cures no illness. The ills of mind grasp my neurons as tightly as Thursday grasps the hardcore scene – which is why they’re headlining Taste of Chaos, when it comes to Cleveland Monday.

Instead, the album commiserates with me as I face an unwavering reality: All this messed up shit I see and feel as an adult in a lackluster world will not change – at least not soon.

If it were by any other band, “Common Existence” would be considered a work of genius. From the proclaimed “Kings of Screamo,” however, it was merely a natural progression and their best yet.

Pieces of their past albums flash by like memories, at an angry pace, slowing down once in a while for sentimentality. It’s ambient and noisy, qualities I’ve come to expect when producer David Fridmann sits at the board. But he also helps the band deliver plenty of new spectacle.

They are not shy about incorporating pop-like riff and refrain, but do so in a way that further magnifies why Thursday is irreplaceable: They’re just so different.

The thing about “Common Existence” that will bring everyone together, is its lyrics, which are probably the most exceptional aspect of the album. With few exceptions, vocalist Geoff Rickly writes with cognizance, propelling vivid thoughts, scenes and meaning.

Most of us have lost love: “Your voice is a music, and I’m drowning in a silent land,” Rickly sings in “Beyond the Visible Spectrum.” Alluring vocals and violins are juxtaposed with moments of coarse instrumentation – music in disarray, like the love Rickly sings about.

The most unfortunate of us have lost love in war: “Another folded flag to a mourning mother/ He was an army of one but they’ll find another,” he sings in “Friends In the Armed Forces.” More basic and brutal than “Spectrum,” the song employs a familiar synthesizer sound (from “A City by the Light Divided”) and choruses worth screaming.

But Thursday has a reputation for being a “live act,” and I think all of us should experience this particular album in person, but I think that applies especially to my roommates. Maybe then they’d understand why Tucker Rule’s bass drum booms all the way down in our kitchen.

Contact all correspondent Steven Bushong at [email protected].