Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Youth Of Today - "We're Not In This Alone" poll wrap up

Youth Of Today - "We're Not In This Alone" Caroline Records

I remember the first time I actually saw Youth Of Today's "We're Not In This Alone", I was with my parents at the Princeton Forestal Village, which was an up-scale shopping mall a couple of towns away from where I grew up. I had popped on into the mall's record store with my dad as he looked for jazz albums and I went straight over to the Y section to see if they had gotten "We're Not In This Alone" yet. I think it had only been released a week or two prior, but I hadn't gotten to a record store until then. As I thumbed through the Y's, the anticipation was killing me, was it going to be here? Was I going to have to wait another week or two until I could get to another record store? Being 14 and without a driver's license really makes things tough and puts all transportation requirements on the parents. Not that my parents weren't fairly flexible with driving me here and there, but there's no way they were going to drive me all over the place to find a hardcore record, it just wasn't going to happen.

So as I rumbled through the record bin, I finally came across it, Youth Of Today - "We're Not In This Alone" in all its red, blue, and white Caroline greatness. My eyes popped out of my head and I dug it out of the bin as if I had just found a buried gem stone. "Who were all these dudes on the cover," I kept saying to myself? Then I flipped it over and stared at those 4 photos until my eyes burnt holes through the cover and started melting the vinyl inside. Damn, could they have picked 4 better photos than those? My favorite pic of course being the one of Cappo airborn, back to the crowd, in a white BOLD shirt and what appeared to be an inside out pair of sweat pants and low top Nikes. I blazed through the thirteen song titles, threw the album under my arm and prepared to head right off to the cash register with every bit of allowance money that I had. This sucker would certainly be mine.

Alternate shot of the Youth Crew from the "We're Not In This Alone" photo shoot

Once I got home, sliced open the shrink wrap and pulled the lyric sheet out, I was again in awe over the high contrast, full size shot of Cappo pulling off the gnarly knee kisser. There was no question that this thing would be hanging on my wall by night's end. First though, I had to drop the record on the turntable and read along to every single lyric. Dun dun… "We're back!"…"Made their threats, ruin your name, thought I was broken but the spirit remains… and this flame will keep on burning strong and I will continue to sing this song." Holy shit, if there was ever a statement being made about YOT's short break up and what lead up to it, this track right here was one hell of a comeback statement. That first track, "Flame Still Burns," not only had shredding, heart felt lyrics that made you want to grab the naysayers by the throat and throw them through a brick wall, but it also had music with enough balls to back it all up. Still to this day, one of my favorite YOT songs and HC songs in general.

As the rest of the album spun, I kept soaking it all in, song by song, lyric by lyric. I did notice a pretty severe lack of drums in the mix, but at the time I just chalked it up to being hardcore and hardcore was not all about pristine recordings. This recording was raw, raw like that open wound on your knees from flying off your skateboard and slamming your knees into the pavement. It had bite and it burned, but in the end you still had a killer time and you'd still do it all over again. Would I liked to have heard a better quality recording sound? Sure I would, no question, but it just wasn't that big of an issue in my mind.

Cappo photo from the back cover of the Caroline Records pressing of "We're Not In This Alone"

I guess by the following year a second version of "We're Not In This Alone" had been released, a remixed version. By this time I had grown accustomed to the sound of the original mix, but since there was a new mix available, I bought it when it was released, this time from the Princeton Record Exchange. This one I took home and ran through as well and definitely heard a major difference, but didn't throw my original mix record in the trash. There were no noticeable differences on the packaging itself, with the exception of the "Remix" sticker that was stuck on the shrink wrap. The songs did sound cleaner though, the drums were louder in the mix and overall, this remixed version was a pretty nice improvement over the original. For the most part, from there on out when I was going to listen to "We're Not In This Alone," the remixed version was the version I'd listen to.

Come 1997, Revelation had gathered the Caroline recordings and put together a reissue of "We're Not In This Alone," this time remixing the entire album once again. Layouts were completely new and the recording itself almost sounded completely new. Some back ups were added, some were chopped, some previously unheard vocal lines were thrown in, all was remixed and delivered yet in my opinion the best sounding record of all the presses. Although I loved and appreciated the original mix and the second mix, this new 1997 remix was just cleaner, brighter and more powerful than the original mixes and I couldn't deny it.

Revelation Records 1997 re-press of "We're Not In This Alone"

To this day, whenever I'm going to toss on "We're Not In This Alone" (which 22 years later is still in regular rotation), the 1997 reissue is my mix of choice. Not that I'd have any opposition to listening to one of the earlier versions, but this latest version is just the one that I tend to fall back on. If I had my choice, I'd probably like to get the exact original vocal tracks dropped into the 1997 reissue remix, but until that happens (and who knows if it ever will), I'm ok with what I've got and always have the option to blast the original mixes if need be. -Tim DCXX

Caroline mix 1 - 89
Revelation re-mix - 84
Caroline mix 2 - 47

Ray with Youth Of Today at Gilman Street, Photo: Trent Nelson


gjhead said...

There was no question that this thing would be hanging on my wall by night's end.

Yep. That full length photo hung on bedroom room for many years!

Anonymous said...

all 3 are bad.

Telly said...

Hey anonymous... what makes me think your breath is bad?

Sajid said...

My first introductions to YOT were the 1997 mixes of both BDTW and WNITA...I was so underwhlemed by BDTW but WNITA I loved from first listen. I have since discovered how awesome the original Wishingwell version of Break Down The Walls is, but had no interest in checking out the earlier mixes of We're Not In This Alone. However, seeing this poll made me check them out, and you just can't beat the rawness of Caroline mix #1. Been waitin for the wrap-up on this poll and it did not disappoint. Thanks Tim!

Adamski said...

I remember picking up the original Caroline press at a record fair for a cheap price. When I listened to it, I was thinking "No wonder it's cheap!" Awful mix. I later got the Euro pressing & it was much better. Their best LP.

Anonymous said...

I love the crazy amount of treble on those earlier releases. For me, the best hardcore albums will always be WNITA and Victim in Pain for the music AND for what they talked about. I heard both albums for the first time in the same year (1992), and it was like everything else didn't come close to mattering that was popular at the time, like Bad Religion. I also think Hands Tied were and are the best youth crew revival band.

Anonymous said...

I've only ever owned one copy of the Caroline LP but don't know what pressing it is. Is the matrix number the same in the dead wax or is it different ?


TJK said...

A while ago, there was a bootleg CD of WNITA, CCME 12", and CCME 7" on CD. Cover was a black and white photo of Cappo with red borders. That's the mix of WNITA I like best. I thought the Rev remixes were ok, but made everything too clean.

I always preferred BDTW over anything else they did, but I really haven't listened to YOT in about 10 years, so take that with a grain of salt.

Draq said...

I'm waiting for the re-issue of this with the original artwork. BDTW yellow type layout too.

mikebythesun said...

Nice write-up. I don't remember when I bought this record, but I remember listening to the HELL out of it when I was 14. I worked at a Burger King at Monmouth Mall and, for many a walks to work, this was the record of choice to listen to on my oversized walkman. Good times, and great memories of this record.

Anonymous said...

i think the best version is the fourth mix but the 7th and the 13th mix are pretty good too. somebody told me there's a 24th mix bootleged by lost and found in germany. but right now i'm listening the 33th mix and it's pretty close to the 16th and third mixes. fuck i forgot the 87th and 115th mixes.

Ben Edge said...

Anyone got an upload link for the second mix?

Ibn Mark said...

I prefer the Rev mix too, but that artwork is a travesty. The original WNITA cover and insert photos are pretty much unfuckable with.

Tom Hogan said...

I had a cassette of the Caroline version that I played the hell out of, but when I got the Rev reissue, I was almost in disbelief. Maybe the new mix brought out the sheer sloppiness of the performances, but jesus, were they even playing in the same room on some of those songs? Maybe the reels were misaligned.

Regardless, this record is amazing, and certainly one of the best, if not the best, youth crew LP.