The history of straight edge is a history of misrepresentation. I chalk this up to a vast, vast, vast majority of straight edge kids not getting it. This isn't a knock on straight edge the lifestyle choice, this is a knock on a lot of people who are straight edge. They don't get it. Even Youth of Today's predecessors didn't get it. When you really get down to it, Minor Threat was a bunch of guys from Georgetown who used straight edge to frown at the choices of others. SS Decontrol was a bunch of guys from Boston who used straight edge as an excuse to dole out beatings. Somewhere in between a Minor Threat & a SSD is a Uniform Choice. Uniform Choice was straight edge and introspective. It was more about looking out for yourself and your friends and not worrying about the choices of others. Uniform Choice got it. They were the happy medium.
The east coast version of Uniform Choice was Danbury, CT's (no, YOT was not actually from NYC) Youth of Today. While Judge & Project X were taking up SSD's mantle as the straight edge aggressor, Youth of Today was taking what Uniform Choice had been instilling for a few years already in Orange County. It was only fitting that Wishing Well (UC's label) would ultimately put out a Youth of Today record.
A lot can be said and made about youth crew. It is often dismissed as boring, lacking substance, and corny. Here are the basic elements of youth crew: a group of friends, focusing on the health of that group, bonded together through a certain lifestyle, and maintaining a positive lifestyle. It is almost like Islam in some ways. A movement that on paper looks really positive and fulfilling and, just like Islam, is grossly misinterpreted by novice fundamentalists who try to use said movement to advance their own personal ideology and agendas.
Youth of Today is the zenith of straight edge hardcore. That's the moment. They're the band that got it. They took what Uniform Choice was doing and were doing it against the backdrop of arguably the greatest period in the subculture's history: late 80's NYHC. Included here is all three of the band's LPs and the Disengage EP (which many argue is YOT's best work).