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Punk and hardcore are all about being short, fast, loud, and angry. New Jersey's Lifetime wrote powerful little songs that were brimming with explosive energy but not weighed down by rage. When the band formed in 1990, the hardcore scene in New York and New Jersey had become darker and more violent than ever before. So, at a time when mosh pits were becoming fight rings, Lifetime positioned themselves as a sensitive hardcore band: when they scrawled their name on club walls, they surrounded it with flowers. Their songs may be hyperkinetic, but it's not the kind of music that makes you want to get in a fight -- unless you want to beat yourself up for not listening to them sooner.

After a handful of singles, EPs, and compilation appearances on New Age Records, Victory Records, and Glu Records, Lifetime signed to Jade Tree Records. The band's 1995 album Hello Bastards won over scads of fans with 22 minutes of melodic, aggressive hardcore. More singles, compilation tracks, lineup changes, and touring followed: Lifetime often hit the road six or seven times a year. They finally recorded their second full-length in late 1996. Jersey's Best Dancers, completed in 1997 and clocking in at just over 23 minutes, would prove to be the band's last record. After completing the album, the band went out on the road to play a few shows on the West Coast. Sadly, at the end of this brief tour, Lifetime decided to call it quits.

Luckily for us, Lifetime's records remain to document their hardcore heartbreak. Singer Art Katz's lyrics are filled with sad tales about underattended shows, unconsummated crushes, and lost loves. In fact, most of the songs on Jersey's Best Dancers are about girls -- you could call this music "crushcore." The featured song, "Francis Nolan" (yep, you guessed it, it's about a girl), is from Jersey's Best Dancers. It perfectly illustrates Lifetime's great blend of punk rock power and proto-emo sensitivity: the infectious, hard-'n'-fast, melodic music will make you jump up and down while the poignant lyrics ("we talked about nothing until she had to go where second chances and small talk could have kept me up all night") tug at your heartstrings. Lifetime's flame may have burned fast, but it certainly burned bright.

Lifetime guitarist Dan Yemin went on to be in Kid Dynamite, also on Jade Tree Records.