My Favorite Album, Ever: My Grandma Vs. Pneumonia

The 2009 album from The Front Bottoms that has had my heart for years.


Wyatt Becker, Reporter

What is there to say about this album, really? It’s emotional, it’s exciting- it’s my favorite album, ever. But, before I get ahead of myself, I should introduce the band: The Front Bottoms.

The Front Bottoms are a band formed out of Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey. The group formed in 2006 with it’s two original members, Brian Sella, the vocalist and guitarist, and Matt Uychich, the drummer. The following year, Matt’s brother, Brian Uychich, joined the band playing an old keyboard he found in his parent’s attic.

It would take another year for the band to release their first EP, “Brother’s Can’t be Friends”. While Sella had released songs under his own name before, this EP would mark the start of The Front Bottoms’ career as a band. This EP, along with their two following projects, would be self-released.

Quickly following the release of the 7-track EP, the band dropped their first album, “I Hate My Friends”, during the same year. The album had 10 new songs on it, and would be their last release of the year. However, in 2009, the band would release their next and final self-released album…

“My Grandma vs. Pneumonia”.


The 13 song album recently turned 12 years old, and it is still cemented as my favorite album of all time. Though the album is old, and I’ll be the first to admit it, very rough around the edges, it’s still a great listening experience. I believe that the fact the album is self-produced and released makes it all the better. You get to hear the original vision of The Front Bottoms. It’s an album that’s full of emotion, passion, and heart.

Without any further ado, let’s dive into the album.


The Bass is Too Loud

“The Bass is Too Loud” can best be described as a panic attack set to an aggressive backing track. The song starts off with rhythm guitar and the foot pedal of a drum building up to a passionate (to say the least) opening verse. The Front Bottoms aren’t known for their singing skills, they’re known for their raw and emotional lyrics and style. This song is the pinnacle of that. It’s unrefined, it’s loud, it’s not mixed properly. But still, I can’t help but get excited for the rest of the album when I hear this song. That is not to say this song can not stand on its own, of course.

Just like the sound of the vocals, the actual lyrics of this song are all over the place. At first, it’s pretty simple- the song is about the bass being too loud and being unable to sleep because of it. However, it quickly branches out into a cry for help from a person in a relationship that’s changing and ending. It’s a piece about desperation, most exemplary being the line, “While god helps those who help themselves, he ain’t done much for me.”

It’s a piece about desperation, most exemplary being the line, “While god helps those who help themselves, he ain’t done much for me.””

At the end of the song, it more or less devolves into Sella screaming the same line over and over, with what sounds like an untuned piano in the background. You must think, with the whiny message of the song, along with the ear piercing vocals and instruments, anyone would hate this song. Well then, it’ll be a big surprise when I give this song an 8/10.


More Than it Hurts You

Spoiler alert: This is my favorite song of all time. I’ll try to review it without bias, but who am I kidding, I’m gonna gush about it a little.

Everything comes together on this track. The lyrics are deep and layered with meaning, and very personally relatable to myself. The vocals are the spinning image of The Front Bottoms- As Sella yells and sings, you get a really good sense of his range. And finally, the instrumentals are beautiful, and fill you with an overwhelming warm feeling. You can tell that all three of the band members put a lot of effort into this song, and it’s evident, as they’re still playing this song live today, though it’s release has only ever been on this album.

This song doesn’t have a particularly innovative meaning or message- It’s simply about being lost in life. This isn’t some crazy rare phenomenon, and even in the music industry, is a rather common object of songwriting. However, through Sella’s vocals, the true desperation he’s feeling shines through. It may be a simple premise for a song, but don’t let that fool you.

Another theme of the song is recognition, or more accurately, lack thereof. In what may be my favorite lyric of all time, “And I will tattoo my poems all over my body/They won’t know who I was before”, Sella really strikes a chord that should resonate with anybody who seeks recognition for their work. Sella laments that even if he were to permanently mark his body with his songs, nobody would know who he was. It’s a powerful statement about recognition and fame, and the desire people have to achieve it.

I don’t want to overanalyze or make the song sound arbitrary, so I’m gonna curtail this section of the article.I don’t need to say it, you probably know what I’m going to give this song- a 10/10. Even if you think you won’t like any of these songs, I highly encourage you to give “More than it Hurts You” a listen or two.

I don’t need to say it, you probably know what I’m going to give this song- a 10/10. Even if you think you won’t like any of these songs, I highly encourage you to give “More than it Hurts You” a listen or two.”


Flying Model Rockets

“Flying Model Rockets” is the first song on the album to have been remastered and re-released on one of the band’s record label EP’s, “Rose”. When the band does this, they make minimal changes to the lyrics and rhythm, but the vocals and track are rerecorded and remastered. In most cases, I do prefer the re-release of the song, and “Flying Model Rockets” is no exception. That isn’t to say I don’t love the original version of this song- there’s a certain charm to it you just can’t ignore.

In either version of the song, you get a blurry picture painted of the scenario the singer is in. They intentionally leave out details and names, making the song rather ambiguous, though I think that adds to it’s message. For some reason, a family friend of Sella is lecturing him about love and pain, while Sella watches model rockets flying from the neighbor’s backyard.

One thing that really separates this version from it’s remake is it’s second chorus- instead of just having Sella sing it as the lead vocalist, a group of people all shout it together. This group of people also comes in at the end of the song, harmonizing and clapping together. These additions are missing in the remake, and give the original so much more character.

Overall, I still prefer the remake of the song. It was one of the first songs I heard from the band, and the sound is just so nostalgic. However, we’re talking about the original version of the song. In that case, I’d give the song a 7/10.


Somebody Else

The second  song on the album that has been remade for another EP, “Somebody Else” is an emotional and relatable song, if not being a bit boring because of it. The Front Bottoms have a great writing style, and Sella has an amazingly unique voice, and I don’t particularly think either are shown off too well in the original version of the song. However, in the remake, Sella gets a lot more opportunities to show off his range.

The song’s premise is simple- it’s a love song where Sella does his best to comfort whoever he’s singing to. He understands that he will never know what they feel like, and empathizes with them further because of it. As I said, it’s nothing special.

One thing I find really interesting about this song, though, is that the second verse actually makes it into a different one of The Front Bottoms’ other songs, “Jim Bogart”. Interestingly enough, “Jim Bogart” is on the EP “Rose”, which is one of their EP’s that features remastered songs from before they got a record label. “Somebody Else” was remade on their second one of these EPs, “Ann”, so “Jim Bogart” was actually released before it. “Jim Bogart” was also never publicly released before being featured on “Rose”, so it’s interesting that a verse from “Somebody Else” ended up on the EP instead of the entire song. And, to top it all off, when “Somebody Else” was later remastered, it was missing it’s second verse.

Though the song has some great TFB trivia behind it, I would only give it a 5/10.


The Distance that I Fell

This song, more than any other on the album, makes me incredibly emotional. “The Distance that I Fell” is not a particularly sad song- at least, not any more so than the other songs that the band produces. However, this song has a lot of memories and emotions tied to it for me. I don’t need to say it, you probably know what I’m going to give this song- a 10/10. Even if you think you won’t like any of these songs, I highly encourage you to give “More than it Hurts You” a listen or two.

I don’t need to say it, you probably know what I’m going to give this song- a 10/10. Even if you think you won’t like any of these songs, I highly encourage you to give “More than it Hurts You” a listen or two.”

“The Distance that I Fell” is almost an explanatory title on it’s own. The person, whoever the singer is singing too, is toxic. The song labels them a hypocrite, and throws some other unsavory language their way too. However, despite that, they’re the first person the first person the singer tells about everything. The title refers to the distance they’ll fall into depression after they cut off this person.

The song is emotional, relatable, and very sentimental to me. For that reason, it gets a 9/10.


The Wrong Way

“The Wrong Way” starts immediately, Sella and the instruments kicking in at second 0 of the song. I think this was a very deliberate choice, but I’ll get into that later. This song is definitely not a love song, but it is a song about love. The Front Bottoms have a tendency to write about girls who already have boyfriends, and this song happens to fall into that category. It also may be one of the most pleasantly sounding songs that can induce an existential crisis.

The whole point of the song is that things are already set in stone. As is repeated throughout the song multiple times, Sella claims to already know where his relationship with this girl is heading. Sella describes situations, like turning to drugs or fighting the girl’s boyfriend, as if they were things he did for love, when in reality, he’s talking about desperation. He’s doing anything he possibly can to make the tables turn his way, but ultimately, he can’t do anything. As he said, he already knew what was going to happen.

The song is best summarized in the line “The walls are black, they’re moving in/But you can tell them I’m happy”. Sella knows the choices he’s making in the name of ‘love’ are catching up with him, and he’s helpless to do anything. However, just because he was able to be around the girl he loved, he was happy. For an emotional and visceral honest song, I give it a 7/10.


I Think Your Nose is Bleeding

“I Think Your Nose is Bleeding” is another one of those songs that was remastered for another EP, in this case, the second one, “Ann”. However, unlike the other two of these songs that are on this album, I actually prefer the original version of “I Think Your Nose is Bleeding”.

It’s hard to understand without listening to both, but the original just has so much more soul in it. The focus is on the vocals in this version of the song, whereas the instrumentals are much more prominent in the remaster. I prefer the focus on the lyrics, however, as Sella is my favorite singer. Additionally, a line was removed from the original version when it was remade, and the lyric is one of the most relatable and gut wrenching things I’ve ever heard. However, for an obvious reason, I can’t repeat this line in school- if you really want to hear it, go listen to the original version of the song.

Either way, this song is great. The original version earns an 8/10 from me.


Christians vs. The Indians

“Christians vs. The Indians” isn’t a good song, though I love to listen to it. It’s uncomfortable, a bit too real, and not happy in the slightest. But it’s almost like a necessary evil. The Front Bottoms typically have an optimistic look to their songs, even if they’re singing about things like dead friends, breakups, or losing all your money. However, this song is far removed from that- You can tell Sella hurts.

While the song deals with heavy topics such as drug addiction, I think they sum up the feeling of the song really well in the innocent lyric, “It’s a bootleg copy of a movie I’ve already seen/I’ll probably leave before the ending”. While this may seem out of context when compared against the rest of the song, I believe it’s a good analogy to demonstrate Sella’s feelings during the song. He’s aware of what’s going on, he already knows what’s gonna happen, and he knows what he’s gonna do.

“Christians vs. The Indians” isn’t actually about the titular conflict. Instead, the title is more like another analogy. The situation is already history, and you know who’s going to lose- you just need to watch it unfold. While this song can easily make you feel hopeless, it’s still a great piece of music that earns a 7/10.


The Cops

If it weren’t for “More than it Hurts You”, “The Cops” would be my favorite song of all time. So, that is to say, it’s my second favorite song of all time! Hopefully that gives a better idea of how much I absolutely love this album.

“The Cops” is an interesting song, to say the least. It’s entire theme is loneliness and isolation, as Sella sings about being unable to find the peace with himself that he once had. Whether it’s comfort in religion or romance, both seem to elude him, and deteriorate his sense of self even more. Once Sella seeks out things he desires, after getting them, he laments how he still feels empty.

Another core theme of the song is the idea of being a stranger. Both verses talk about people who are specifically mentioned as nameless strangers interacting with Sella in some capacity. In both examples, interacting with them makes Sella just feel more empty inside. This is because, even after events that would traditionally draw people together, the strangers are still just strangers to Sella. He failed once again to find peace through an external method.

The outro to the song is a departure in tone as Sella begins to scream the most impacting lyrics of the song, “At my funeral don’t lie/Tell ‘em I didn’t wanna die”. He screams this line over and over as the track behind him gets louder and more frantic as well. I believe this is a great ending to the song, as death is the end of all things. However, within the theme of the song, it ties into something greater. Sella is speaking about his funeral in the future, meaning he’s still uncertain about the conditions of it. However, he is sure that no matter what, he wouldn’t have wanted to die. Even though throughout the song, Sella has been struggling to find his place in life, he still hasn’t given up. He clings onto life with a grim determination, hoping that one day, things will go back to normal.

This song is raw, it’s emotional, and it’s deeply relatable. As my second favorite song of all time, it earns a 10/10

This song is raw, it’s emotional, and it’s deeply relatable. As my second favorite song of all time, it earns a 10/10.”


The Supply of Power

As of writing this, I have recently discovered a newfound appreciation for this song. “The Supply of Power” used to just be another track on this album to me. Of course, I loved the song, but it was nothing special. However, something seems to have clicked in my brain, as I’ve been listening to this song on repeat for the past couple of weeks. 

“The Supply of Power” or “The Supply of Power (La la la)” is a pretty unique song, especially when it starts up. Before any actual lyrics, Sella just repeats ‘La la la’ over and over again to the tune of the music. The intro of this song isn’t the only time this pattern shows up, either. It’s almost like the song’s bridge. However, sure enough, the classic Front Bottoms lyrics do butt in as Sella begins to sing about how he’s short on money, and can’t seem to catch a break when compared to his friends.

However, as with most of their songs, it turns into a song about a girl, or rather, the inability to woo one as Sella realizes he’s unable to tell what girls like about other guys. In the song, Sella can’t rationalize why a girl he likes is laughing at somebody else’s jokes. While this is surely a feeling most can relate to, I believe it speaks to greater volumes. This song has one of my favorite lyrics of all time, being, “And then I thought I’d try to catch you with the friction of both our bodies/But then remembered I was way too smooth”.

The song isn’t simply about not knowing what girls like. Both verses, when put together, paint the picture of someone who simply doesn’t know how to navigate life. Sella laments how other people are richer or better with girls- he resents the ‘supply of power’, as he doesn’t get any. This song just deserves a 9/10.


Just as Big, Twice as Swollen

Another case where I can safely say this is a song about love, but not a love song, “Just as Big, Twice as Swollen” is a very real, almost sobering listening experience. Drums and piano accompany Sella’s voice as he once again sings about troubles with his relationship. This time, he’s unable to relate to his partner, with both of them having very different needs and wants.

The song isn’t any more real than their other songs. Sella’s writing style is all about an almost toxic self awareness and shamelessness. The band manages to create detailed and gripping stories in the span of minutes, and I believe it’s because they don’t try to glorify who they are. “Just as Big, Twice as Swollen” isn’t about being the healthy one in a toxic relationship. It’s about being one of two people in a toxic, codependent relationship- things aren’t as easy as black and white.

Something about this song just really gets me. It sticks with me after every listen- not in the earworm kind of way (though it is catchy), but in the emotional way. However, in the words of the song itself, “If you wanna move ahead, you have gotta leave me behind”. This song earns a well deserved 9/10.


Silver Shinbone (Bucket Song)

“Silver Shinbone (Bucket Song)” is, in my opinion, the best song the band has made to get you used to their music. The Front Bottoms are loud, and by some of my friend’s standards, pretty obnoxious, but this song is not that. It’s a toss up, because while it does lose some of the classic TFB charm, this is in no way a bad song. In fact, it’s really catchy. It’s a straightforward love song, and that’s about all there is to it.

I don’t have much else to say about this song. It’s like vanilla ice cream. It’s impossible to hate, but more often than not, it leaves a bit more to be desired. I’m still gonna give it a 6/10, though.


So Sick, We’re Dead

The last track of the album, “So Sick, We’re Dead” provides an amazing send off for this album. It really contains the spirit of The Front Bottoms. It has all three original members of the band singing together, which is something that only this song can say it has done. Sella’s tone for the song is near perfect- you can hear a certain sadness in his voice, but mostly, it’s very warm.

On the topic of the song’s tone, it is generally pretty sad, which you should expect from this band by now. The song tells the story of an unnamed girl, which is also a common story among the band’s discography. Regardless, the song has the girl grappling with the reality of her situation, whatever it is, and thereafter finding the strength to break away from it.

The song isn’t just about the girl, though. It’s also about the band, evident in the line, “And we are so dishonest, so dishonest now/So dishonest with ourselves.” As the last song on their album, and along with the fact the whole band is singing on it, I believe this is the band telling themselves something important. It’s a wake up call, if you will. What it is they’re telling themselves, only they’ll know. Regardless, the final song on the album earns an 8/10.


And, wow, that’s it. I don’t have many closing thoughts on the album. I’ve listened to it to death and back, and already know I love it. All I can really ask of anyone still reading is to please, please, go listen to this album! It’s not available on Spotify, but the full album is on YouTube. And, if you’d only like to dip your toes into their music, I heavily advise you to go listen to “More than it Hurts You”.

Once again, I’m Wyatt Becker, and thanks for reading!