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Album Review

The final studio release of new music from Fifteen, Survivor is a fitting title for the group's swan song. Paradoxically, the band demonstrates their best-ever material on this 2000 Sub City Records offering. After almost a decade of songwriting and recording, the melodies, riffs, and performances had evolved to the point where singer/guitarist Jeff Ott couldn't ruin them with his frank, idealistic, and sour lyrics. The musician never developed any imagery, stories, or metaphors to add color to his progressive social, political, and familial commentary. It's hard to fault Ott's positions, but the color and depth of real poetry could have added so much power to his music. On Survivor, Ott takes control over his musical craft, rendering any lyrical weaknesses moot. Much more polished than the average Fifteen disc, this last effort is one of the Bay Area outfit's best.


Formed: 1988

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Formed in 1988 after the demise of the Bay Area punk band Crimpshine, from day one Fifteen forged punk-pop songs with strong social messages. Singer/guitarist Jeff Ott's lyrics focus on social justice and issues such as homelessness, drug abuse, environmental destruction, and government strong-arm tactics. Many of the themes that his songs deal with seem to be pulled from his own experience; sexually abused as a child, he left home at 13 and lived the life of a gutter punk on the streets for 11 years....
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Survivor, Fifteen
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