With the 1997 release of Jersey’s Best Dancers, Lifetime had perfected their sound. Guitarists Dan Yemin and Pete Martin had struck a balance between melody and intricacy, crafting chord progressions that were atypical, innovative and hellacious fun and accompanying them with simple, three or four note riffs that added depth and emotion to the frenetic, breakneck affair. Ari Katz had also perfected his mumbly, energetic vocal stylings by getting a better grip on infectious melody and adding it to hardcore’s almost hip-hop-esque cadences. With Dave Palaitis and Scott Golley holding down the low end on bass and drums respectively, the speed was never compromised, the gut-rumbling weight was never lost and, goddammit, they were just as interesting to listen to as the lead instruments. Regardless of the implications of Lifetime’s legacy—good, bad or in between—and the fact that they’ve been kicking around again since reuniting in 2005, they are directly credited for a generation of new punk rock and hardcore fans. The band, their limited discography, and their brief initial lifespan made them an important wavelength in the underlying currents of American music. Yes, Lifetime will only receive proper credit from those looking to dig into the past, but Jersey’s Best Dancers is relevant today because bands continue to try to replicate the power, energy and musical perspective therein. Which is sort of funny, isn’t it? Lifetime tried to do something different, and now bands want to capture what it is to be Lifetime. How’s that for a legacy?