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Standout Track: No. 3, “Nintendo Power,” a New Wave–y song about getting fitshaced. The two-minute track opens with a catchy, TRL-ready guitar riff that is then joined by drums, bass, and synthesizer. It ends with vocalist Mick Coogan singing the line “It’s midnight and we’re wasted” seven times.
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MUSICAL MOTIVATION: Though 23-year-old guitarist Kevin Bayly claims, “We’re not retro or anything,” the College Park quartet does have the ’80s in its collective consciousness—albeit hazily. “Nintendo Power,” he explains, “was the coolest magazine you could get when you were 7.”
Make that reeeally hazily. “We’ve been kind of wild boys all our life,” says Coogan, 27. “In high school…people would be on acid, fucked out of their minds, playing video games.” He and his bandmates remember enough to name Zelda, Contra, and R.B.I. Baseball as some of their old-school Nintendo faves.
THE GAME OF LIFE: Coogan, who wrote the words, says that “Nintendo Power” is about smart suburban kids squandering their talent and “just going through the days.” Nowhere is this more evident than the chorus: “Hangin’ at the arcade/Flyin’ with the spaceships/Chokin’ down some paper,” Coogan sings. “It’s midnight and we’re wasted.”
Appropriately, Bayly wrote the riff for the track last year, when he was broke, unemployed, and living in his parents’ basement. Because his mother taught him his first guitar chords when he was 10, he figured she might be a good test audience. “I played it for my mom and asked her if she thought it was cool,” he recalls. “She was like, ‘Whatever. Get a job.’”—Rachel Beckman