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'So Long, So Long' to Boston’s Transit

On April 19, Transit began a two week final tour of the Northeast that signifies the breaking up of their band for an indefinite period. Transit has risen and fallen over the years, achieving various levels of commercial success across North America and Europe. However, the members’ instrumental talents, honest and metaphorical lyrics, and genuine passion for performing made them a staple of the East Coast emo-punk scene. Transit will leave behind a collection of full-lengths and extended plays that encapsulate the band’s evolving sound: from immature punk rock music to sophisticated and confident indie-rock.

Transit formed in 2006 and were chiefly based in the Allston and Brighton area. Initially, they rose to prominence in the New England punk scene for their frequent energetic concerts in basement or house shows. Eventually, Transit became a staple act at venues familiar to most Boston College students, such as the Brighton Music Hall.

The debut album This Will Not Define Us presents the band at their rawest and most juvenile. Featuring fast-paced drumming and angst-driven lyrics, the album positioned Transit as a standard punk rock outfit. Still, the album lives up to its name, especially seeing that its simplicity would not be repeated in future releases.

The group adopted a more emo-infused sound on their genre-affecting 2009 extended play, Stay Home. At only six tracks, the EP garnered Transit newfound attention from both punk purists and fans of classic emo outfits such as American Football. Tracks such as “Stay Home” and “Nameless (Songs to Static)” highlight the band at their fastest and angriest, yet these songs are still more developed than those on Define Us. Fan favorites “Stays the Same” and “Outbound” add a further emotional edge to the band’s previously strictly punk sound and signaled what was soon to come from Transit.

Photo courtesy of Tumblr

Photo courtesy of Tumblr

While Transit remained a largely local band even after Stay Home, the band’s second full-length album Keep This To Yourself  brought them out of the local scene and into the national pop-punk scene. Released in 2010, the album fused the emo and punk element of previous releases into a relentless, yet appealing pop-punk sound. The record is meant to be a concept album where the speaker is metaphorically composing a series of letters to a former lover. Vocalist and chief lyricist Joe Boynton particularly shines on the album with a noticeable improvement in singing ability. The band’s Boston roots emerge most strongly on the album closer “Love ____,” featuring lyrics such as “I always knew I would live and die in Boston.” The album's main single, “Please, Head North”  remains the band’s most often performed song as it encapsulates their energetic style and poetic lyrics.

Transit achieved their greatest critical and commercial success with their 2011 effort Listen and Forgive. The album marks the most significant change in sound for them as a band. Overall, the album shows off the softer, more emotional side of the group. Songs such as “Skipping Stone” feature only acoustic guitars and light percussion while synthesizer is utilized in the opener “You Can’t Miss It.” Despite the softer edge, the album still packs a satisfying anthemic punch with faster songs such as “1978” and “Cutting Corners” which also highlight Drummer Daniel Frazier’s musical prowess. “All Your Heart” features Patrick Stump, frontman and vocalist of Fall Out Boy.

Listen and Forgive led to radio play for Transit. With this, they began headlining tours across North America with other famous pop punk acts such as The Wonder Years. In fact, Transit was a staple on the Vans Warped Tour for multiple years. However, the album became divisive for many longtime fans of the band, as those who had spent years watching the group play in basements and house shows in the Allston and Brighton area were concerned about the radical shift in sound.

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Photo courtesy of Tumblr

Transit’s newfound popularity was not to last. Released in 2013, the album Young New England was a critical and commercial disappointment. While Listen and Forgive was a softer record than previous releases, Young New England almost entirely abandoned the band’s emo punk origins, alienating fans from the band. In addition, the record was not as emotional and surprising as their 2011 release and suffered from production issues, with vocalist Boynton frequently off-key throughout the release. However, songs like “Young New England” and “Weathered Souls” did achieve moderate success and showed off the band’s pride in their hometown.

Young New England’s failure to propel Transit forward laid the seeds for their impending breakup. Yet, the band’s final album, Joyride, shows the group at their most confident. In Joyride, Transit fully transitions to an indie-punk sound and adds additional elements to their music. “Loneliness Burns” features a piano while “Rest To Get Better” evokes the fast-paced elements of previous releases. Despite this, after the fan backlash to Young New England, Joyride largely failed to reignite interest in the group’s music, leading to the decision to call it quits. Despite their immense changes in sound, Transit never forgot their roots and Boston heritage, as their final string of shows feature a return to the small venues and basements played before their popularity. Nearly every show of the tour is sold out, showing that newcomers and die-hard fans alike are coming together to provide a proper New England sendoff.

To quote Transit's lead singer Joe Boynton, “Nothing lasts forever.”