There's a fine line that some music journalists ride that I often wonder whether it's a lie or they really grew up in the hippest parts of America and were listening to Pavement's Slanted and Enchanted before they even entered high school. Or were they listening to Tantric and Live, went to college and acted like the first 18 years of their lives never existed. I'm not sure if it's denial, or I just wasn't that cool when I was their age.
The thing is, I know I wasn't that cool. I still am not.
I remember you telling me what you told me. The first relationship I was ever in. I felt hurt. I felt angry. I told you to get out my car. I quickly sped off. For some reason, the speakers in my car wouldn't turn up loud enough. As I parked the car and walked back to the dorm, I heard you crying in the distance, calling out my name to talk. I didn't want to talk. You said enough for the both of us.
So as much as this past weekend has meant to me seeing bands like Braid, Refused and The Promise Ring. I discovered those bands late in high school or in the case of The Promise Ring, my formidable college years. To me, it doesn't make their music mean any less or more as to when I discovered the band. Each one is just another rung in the ladder.
What really got me this week was my fellow staffer and friend Ryan Gardner's review of Taking Back Sunday's Tell All Your Friends 10th Anniversary Tour here in Austin. Ryan and I have a very significant age difference sitting between us. So when I was in high school rocking out to one of our generation's most influential records, Gardner was nine-years-old. Honestly, I can't even remember what I was listening to when I was 9. Probably the radio? It was my last year of having Leukemia, so that part of my life is a blur in itself.
As my best friend since high school - who was in town for Fun Fun Fun Fest this past weekend - and I pushed through the crowd, there were a lot of young faces mixed with ones my age. Given the fact that Taking Back Sunday's original line-up is now back together, at the age of sixteen, I didn't even get a chance to see this moment until now. (Well, it should be noted that I've seen the guys play together twice since then, but to play an album like this all the way through, is a whole other level of nostalgia.)
I don't remember much from last night. I remember going to bed early, shutting the door to my room while the party continued in my apartment. Now as I'm getting up, I can hear you laughing from the other room. The room of my best friend.
There's something special about an album like Tell All Your Friends. It's a feeling that runs through records like Say It Like You Mean It, Sticks and Stones and all those other heartbreaking records as a teenager. There's probably a Fall Out Boy record in there for some of you. At least sixty percent of the Saves the Day catalog is just an uphill fight about love, loss, rejection and awkwardness. Then there's Deja Entendu, equally rotated with Friends in my younger years.
These albums stick just as much as Usher's Confessions or Copeland's Beneath Medicine Tree. Which, between them, they're the same record really.
What makes me wonder about the longevity of an album like Tell All Your Friends is why it has stuck for so long? Is it the anger and frustration felt through out? Is it everything we want to say, but lack of words thereafter? Is it that in the struggle of relationship after relationship, both platonic and romantic, we've already attached ourselves once to such a record, that it's a comforting reminder of sorts in the years to come? The fact that it stuck through a decade, kid after young kid, the same bullshit and the same feelings. It's incredible really.
I'm pretty exhausted from the weekend so far, but I'm leaning against this empty guitar cabinet thinking of us. Yes, yes Adam, that's exactly what I want to tell her. Now I'm belting it out. I'm 26 standing to the side of this young crowd, and I'm still singing out every perfect quip that I want to text her right now. I wonder when I'll grow out of this.
What really struck me is the look on Gardner's face after the show. It was like the look on my face after seeing Refused, Braid and The Promise Ring this weekend. I saw something I missed out on. Something that meant a lot to me for so many years that I never experience at the time I discovered it. While Refused never wrote an album about heartbreak and pulling yourself out of a personal ditch, each album you hear holds a significance for one reason or another. It could be a sound, it could be the musicianship, it could be the songwriting or it could be a feeling and attachment. There are records in my library that will always be cataloged to a moment in my life for better or worse. The coolest part is how it holds meaning to generations younger than me.
I think, well, what if I was a ladies man. Would all these records mean as much? Would they just be great records laced in excellent songwriting with no personal attachment? Does that make them better or worse then? Does that make me and millions of others understand them more or less than others? In the end, that attachment in any form makes for a special keepsake. That substance in music is why I keep trudging along writing these rants. Somewhere out there, there are a few people who get it, and my story doesn't seem as lame as it does inside my head.
I can feel you getting distant. I feel myself doing the same. The only thing I'll regret is that I never let you hold me back.