#121 – What It Is To Burn

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Artist – Finch
Album – What It Is to Burn
Year – 2002
Genre – Post-Hardcore/Emo

How do you separate yourself from the pack? How do you make a name for yourself? You put your heart and soul into everything you do. That’s exactly what makes “What It Is to Burn” by California post-Hardcore outfit Finch stand out. Everything about this song is filled with energy and emotion, and this is why this song still has a legacy among early post-hardcore bands.

The intro to this song is so cool, and yet I have no idea what’s making the opening sound, besides some strings I can hear in the background. Whatever it is, it’ll get your blood pumping before the band even comes in. Just imagine how it would feel live. As the feedback ends, the song explodes. Singer and frontman Nate Barcalow absolutely shreds with his opening scream as the drums pound with earth shaking force and the guitars form a wall so thick you’re going to want to break something in your vicinity.

Barcalow’s singing on the verses is great. His voice is clear and has that honest quality that is essential for bands of this sort. It really shows the sensitivity and desolation of the imagery in the lyrics, but it’s the chorus that this song is known for, and it is a doozy.

Barcalow’s voice cuts through you with it’s grit and anguish as it lays perfectly over those oh so heavy guitars during the chorus. The melody is somber as well, and that figures in nicely with the tone set from the start. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not catchy. It is. As he sings,

She’s the only one who knows what it is to burn

you’ll get chills. It’s pure pain in poetry. The band gives absolutely every ounce of energy they have during the short but memorable chorus. That’s exactly why it IS memorable.

The bridge is also another great showcase from the band, only with a new added heaviness from Barcalow. This is the “hardcore” part of the post hardcore, as he screams the opening two words “she burns” over and over, and you feel it each time as if it were a punch in the gut, and those guitars, man. Just brutal. What’s more, interspersed throughout the song are great little stutter effects which sound great and add a unique element to a song that already makes itself known. With some strings thrown in for good measure, this track literally is the complete package of quality and great songwriting and texturing.

The lyrics in this song may be puzzling at first, but I interpret them as about going through life and suffering a lot, but finding that one special person who has suffered the same trials as you, and recovering together from the hardship. They are “the only one who knows what it is to burn” in this life. That’s a sentiment that’s much more than skin deep.

Finch is back on the playing field as of late after making an early departure from the scene, and it’s no surprise to see why the world wanted them back. They have the ability to create great, dramatic songs that punch to the heart of pain and recovery, and have A+ instrumentation and vocal talent to back it up. “What It Is to Burn” is an example to the rest of the scene about what is possible. Find your limits, and then go past them. Put your heart and soul into it.

Thanks for reading everyone. It’s pretty late right now, but tomorrow I’ll be putting up something really cool, so be sure to like, comment, follow, or share this blog to get yourself and your friends ready for that!

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