Op-Ed: On the Importance of Title Fight

In 2015, ushering in the finale of a brutal winter,  Title Fight released Hyperview (Anti, Inc.), an astounding feat that would cement their place in the history of mid-2010s pop-punk fame. This 10-track mammoth would change the landscape of the genre and remind all of what potential midwest emo has. 

February 3, 2015, I was halfway through my journalism degree, and I remember hearing the Hyperview record faintly on Spotify. Something about this record was seared into me; it mimicked the overcast and 10 below I was feeling. I made my boyfriend at the time listen to it—he wasn’t thrilled, but I was. This record was an acquired taste, but in its confused sound, it felt universal. 

Under Will Yip’s production, they evolved. Together Yip and Title Fight released their most ambitious feature to date. Shying away from the ferocity of previous releases, they abandoned the hardcore and punk melodies and traded them in for shoegaze tone and dreamy sensibilities. 

On earlier records, Title Fight had proved their capacity to be both a hardcore and pop punk outfit, but this new record would take them to neoteric places. Hyperview was their one-and-only shoegaze record, technically Nu-Gaze because of its 2015 release date. 

Title Fight have always remained a favorite of late-stage Midwest Emo listeners (myself included), and they managed to capture the dreary and industrious civilization this side of the Mississippi. The Midwest’s notorious weather patterns from October until May are usually overcast, and it’s always either snowing or raining. In fact, it’s so grey most Midwesterners are wildly vitamin D deficient.

This band from Kingston, Pennsylvania managed to epitomize this within this record. The obscured vocals and indistinguishable sounds flood the listener the same way the snowstorms do. 

The whole album proves its creds within the first few moments of the opening track, completely bombarding us with sound. With a pseudo-hypnotic drone, we are lead through the daydream that Title Fight created. Its cough syrup thickness gives its audio landscape a fever dream quality that affixes itself to the brain and dissolves slowly. 

The intricately crafted, bleak landscape produced through the meshing of sounds is almost as massive and overwhelming as the River Rouge plant. The enormity of this record is understated, but if one is really listening, you can hear the delicate structures holding the record up. Taking an industrial approach this record bridges the gap and carries the momentum from their past work and redirects it.

The tracks “Murder Your Memory” and “Your Pain is Mine Now” took the internet by storm, and Tumblr (this was 2015, remember) was filled with text edits of those two tracks. Flash sheets were circulating with lyrics from those songs, and I almost gave in and got a Title Fight tattoo after the record dropped. 

This highly stylized fan approval for the record would only sustain the longevity of Title Fight for so long. After the initial hype of the record died down and a few one-off shows, Title Fight nearly faded back into obscurity. I say “obscurity” because when I talk to kids who like pop punk now, they have no idea whom I’m talking about.

In a podcast interview, Ned said, “It’s not something that I think has to exist forever. Which, I dunno, is a complicated thing to come to terms with. But I think it’s important to be honest about, especially with yourself.” 

I have often joked that Title Fight dispersed because Hyperview wasn’t appreciated enough and that they did not get the recognition they deserved. In reality, it was the weight of responsibility that would ultimately sanction them into a hiatus. 

However, their lasting impact is clear to anyone who listens to pop punk or who is familiar with their body of work.

Title Fight may no longer be together and creating music, but their legacy will continue to live on and challenge and inspire musicians. Hyperview will remain one of the treasures of mid-2010s punk, and although the initial glory may have been short-lived, their records are forever.

Hear more Title Fight classics on Bandcamp. 

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