Title Fight remains the only good thing to come out of Pennsylvania. They also remain hardcore’s gold-star ghosters for being on unofficial hiatus since 2018, with no end or reunion in sight, much to the dismay of many fans who were probably already depressed to begin with.
To help soothe the distress of an ambiguous and pessimistic future for the beloved group, we have collected their best 15 songs for you to listen to in your car and cry a little when you’re waiting in line at the drive-through.
An underrated banger off the oft-overlooked “Spring Songs” EP, “Blush” feels like a bridge between early hardcore Title Fight and later indie shoegaze Title Fight. A best of both worlds situation for when you’re feeling old and don’t want to hurt your back stage diving off the couch onto a mattress while you’re alone in your apartment for a night. (Pick up “Spring Songs” on purple vinyl in our store right now)
“Shed” is a fan favorite album and it is extremely clear why listening to even the lesser-known tracks. “27” represents the rawer side of this LP, with the vocals so emotive it makes us kind of need a glass of water. We’re not great at hydrating around here and it might be the reason our body hurts all the time.
13. “Murder Your Memory”
The Hard Times was explicitly instructed to not put anything from “Hyperview” remotely close to the top five by a shadowy and mysterious figure, and honestly, we can’t blame this person. Regardless, “Murder Your Memory” is a rare W and worth a listen.
12. “Safe in Your Skin”
Last week you spent three full hours looking at the search results for “Title Fight Reunion” and somehow ended up watching Mike Tyson defend his heavyweight title against Tony Tubbs. For some reason it reminded you that you had this song on your sad 8tracks playlists on your Tumblr. Don’t lie, you had one.
11. “Flood of ‘72”
Technically Title Fight’s debut single from 2007, “Flood of ‘72” brings the frantic energy that most fans associate with the band’s early days, and man, is it good shit. Quick question: they wouldn’t just disappear into the ether without announcing a confirmed breakup, right? Like, they would totally say something official?
We should be safe from the threats of our shady visitor at spot #10, but here’s another pick from “Hyperview” that managed to sneak on the list. Reverb-heavy and up-tempo, “Mrahc” kind of sounds like a gender-swapped Alvvays B-side. Points lost for the goofy title, though.
“The Last Thing You Forget” is, in the official Hard Times opinion, a perfect EP. “Introvert” is short, sweet, and a little heavier than their later stuff, not to sound like one of those fans. Hey, maybe the guys are just taking a super long time to perfect their next album…
Honestly, this song is just really good to drive around to and complain about getting out of your hometown. You can almost picture the drone shot capturing you as you gaze longingly out the window while “In-Between” plays in the background.
2012’s “Floral Green” saw Title Fight take another step towards radio-friendly. “Lefty” manages to blend the raw, bleating vocals with a heavier guitar tone and some of the band’s most evocative and visceral lyrics. You know, some of the guys have new projects now, and some got married, but come on enough is enough. Time to get back on stage.
6. “Crescent-Shaped Depression”
“Crescent-Shaped Depression” is a gut punch in the best way possible, with lyrics like “Our hands only shake when we cross state lines / I’ve made hundreds of mistakes / And peace with dying in my sleep / That’s what’s right for me” tend to hit a little harder each passing year. That’s rude as hell.
Finally, a title track that isn’t kind of a letdown. “Shed” rips fucking hard it makes me want to travel to Wilkes-Barre, grab the Russin brothers by their shoulders and shake them until they agree to play at least like one show. They won’t even have to play a whole set, just like these top five songs.
4. “Where Am I?”
“Where Am I?” This will be the question vocalist Jamie Rhodin will be asking after I abduct him, chain him to the radiator in my basement, and demand a reunion. But since I can’t currently afford rope or the good duct tape I’ll just listen to this song instead.
3. “Numb, But I Still Feel It”
Ned Russin famously wrote the lyrics to “Numb, But I Still Feel It” during a single 20-minute car ride. That’s frankly fucked up, because this is some of the band’s best work. The drum intro rips, the vocals are emotive and raw, and Jesus Christ, everything is in fact so uncertain. Fuck you, Ned.
The platonic ideal of a Title Fight track. Short, blisteringly fast, somehow catchy, and utterly, relatably devastating lyrically. I’ll rob every bank on the East Coast to gather up enough money to make it worth it for them. I don’t care how many innocent lives are lost in the crossfire.
1. “Secret Society”
This song states “Think it’s time for me to leave my friends all behind” and that’s how we feel right now as we come to terms with the fact Title Fight is over. We wish they would do the Bane thing and play 15-20 “Final shows ever” before we get too old.
Photo by Jayson Ignacio