This was a difficult piece for me to try to do properly, as there is really no other band that comes close to being what The Dangerous Summer have been to me for the past five plus years. For that reason, this is more of a personal reflection rather than a traditional album review.
Iíve been listening to the new album, Golden Record, a lot lately. Make no mistake, this is a good album. Even with two new members joining the band the musicianship is as tight as ever. Ben Cato absolutely kills it on the drums. Matt Kennedy, formerly of The Graduate, fits perfectly in the band, and his guitar work, along with Cody Payneís, is both innovative and yet at the same time, the backbone of that familiar The Dangerous Summer sound. And then there is AJ Perdomo. It could be argued that there is nobody currently in the scene that projects sincerity and emotion quite like Perdomo does vocally. With the heart on sleeve lyrics and a voice that bleeds honesty, thereís no denying that Perdomo is the soul of this band.
But hereís where things get complicated. Consider the previous two albums, Reach For The Sun and War Paint, and ask yourself how realistic it is to expect lightning to strike for the third time in a row. I want to say that I love this album, but I canít. I love parts of it. I like others. Other parts, I wait for them to be over so I can get to other songs. I find myself skipping around tracks in a way I didnít with the last releases. The album opens with ďCatholic Girls," the first single and one of the stand out tracks on the record. The track is fairly indicative of what you can expect sonically and vocally for the rest of the album. Perdomo is notably more aggressive vocally on Golden Record, and there are some times where I find myself wishing that his delivery was dialed back just a bit. Some people will love the aggressive approach, others will not. Iíve always thought that it was best used for emphasis in contrast to Perdomoís smoother vocals. Songs like ďSurfaced," ďNever Feel Alone," and ďEveryone Left" come to mind. After the opening track, there is a sequence of songs that after a few listens seem to blend together. Maybe itís the sequencing, maybe itís the songs themselves, but itís hard to find standout moments in the record until ďMiles Apart," which is The Dangerous Summer once again operating at their peak. There is another lull, and the album ends with another terrific track, ďAnchor," which is a slow burner that picks up speed and is the kind of song specifically made to close out an album.
Regardless of these criticisms, itís not that Golden Record is a bad record, because itís not. Itís just that itís not what I wanted it to be. Itís not what Reach For The Sun and War Paint were for me. Is it selfish of me to feel that way? Maybe. Should I try to listen to this without comparing it to prior releases so much? Probably, but how realistic is that to ask of a listener when it comes to a band like this? For a band that I have supported from its earliest days, and for a band that I have become friends with over the years, itís somewhat painful to feel that way, but itís the reality of the situation and itís me being honest.
In our scene, there exists a sort of condition. And that condition is that we want all of these albums from the artists we love to perfectly encapsulate whatever moment in our lives we currently find ourselves experiencing. We want these artists to pen our biographies, we want to be able to say ďyes yes thatís what Iím feeling, thatís what Iím thinking, thank you for saying it better than I ever could have." I donít listen to music because I ďlike" it, and I donít listen to music because itís ďfun." I listen to music because it makes me feel something that I havenít been able to find anywhere else. As you get older, I donít think that you ever stop looking, or at least wanting, to make that connection, no matter how many times youíve made it in the past.
But, as you grow up, things change. It becomes harder and harder to find this feeling since you are both consciously and subconsciously comparing new records to every other album you have ever been in love with, and with every other emotion that music has ever made you feel. For somebody who is deeply passionate about music, itís a tough dilemma to come to terms with, and I donít think there is really any way to adequately solve it. All you can do is work on finding acceptance and learning to appreciate what you have, and what you have had. Be thankful that you are the type of person who can truly appreciate music as art, as well as all of the emotions and sentiments that come along with it. There are some people who will never feel the things that you have felt, they will never attach memories and moments and people to the music that you love, and they will never know the joy of singing along to a song that sets a fire inside your heart.
The Golden Record on the Voyager spacecraft was launched in 1977 and sent out to the depths of space as a sort of message in a bottle in the hopes that intelligent life would one day discover it. The record was sent out not with a definitive message, but with bits and pieces of what we represent as a human race. In this sense, I feel like a parallel can be drawn to the release of this album. While Golden Record might not be perfectly cohesive or the definitive release from this band, it is still very much a The Dangerous Summer record, and it will eventually find its place in the universe that is this music scene.
I hope that, with this record, some of you are able to find what it is that you are looking for, for wherever you might be in your life.
This band just doesnít quit. Instead of taking the safe route and putting out a 38 minute collection of relatively catchy songs, the band released an hour long tour de force of a record that delivers from start to finish. From the quirky interludes, to the choir singalong of ďAinít It Fun," to the massive closing track ďFuture," the album is anything but formulaic or repetitive. Hayley Williams has never sounded better, and musically, the band is the most experimental, and yet the most comfortable, that theyíve been in their career. The variety doesnít take away from the flow of the album, and instead it shows off just how capable and confident the band has become. Paramore is at their pinnacle, and they wonít be coming down anytime soon.
2. Jimmy Eat World - Damage
It is difficult to find a band more consistent in putting out solid records than Jimmy Eat World. Damage is a grower, with the first listen maybe leaving you wondering how you really feel. So you go back for more, and then more, and then more, and then it clicks. The record has a fine balance of melody, rhythm, and aggression, ranging from the angsty toe tapper ďNo, Never" to the lo-fi, primarily acoustic closer ďYou Were Good." Jim Adkins is a master of writing lyrics that are relatable to fans of all ages, and he excels at exploring heartache without coming across as trite or whiny. Fans might be disappointed that there isnít a stand out landmark track like ď23" or ďDizzy," but when a band has already set the bar so high, you have to be realistic with your expectations. Damage isnít necessarily Jimmy Eat World at their best, but theyíre still crafting superb heart-on-sleeve rock music, which is what they do best.
3. Lydia - Devil
Devil is a lush and layered record, much in the style of previous Lydia albums, yet unique in its own way. Full of catchy lines, particularly the track ďHolidays," the album is bursting at the seams with melody. The album as a whole is more upbeat than earlier Lydia material, as well as substantially less dark and bitter. Thatís not to say that itís exactly a happy record, but youíre less likely to find yourself crying yourself to sleep this time around. There will always be that group of listeners hoping for a return to the sound of Illuminate, but thatís not to be expected since this is hardly the same band that produced that album, and since this record came close to not existing in the first place. Devil is the kind of album that makes you think and makes you feel. The kind album that was made for the end of Summer, where the warm nights start to give way to the cooler winds of Fall, and those feelings of nostalgia start to creep back in.
I don't think that anyone really prepared our generation for the current state of affairs which we face. As far back as I can remember, I was fed the usual "Believe in yourself, anything is possible. Go to college. The pieces will fall into place." They showed us portraits of 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom homes nestled quietly in the suburbs as we go to our 9 to 5 job and we laugh at shitty jokes around a water cooler and then we go home and reenact the scenes that television sitcoms have instilled in our minds.
It's just not that easy, anymore. Maybe it never really was, but right now I don't think that a generation of 20-somethings has ever had to deal with such an existential clusterfuck. I would say that there is an identity crisis, but our identity is one of uncertainty and helplessness. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and everyone else gets fucked. If you're not a thinking person, maybe it isn't so bad. I realize that not everyone faces such feelings of dread and concern that nothing they are doing in their life really matters. Plenty of people are perfectly content with going through the motions until they die. Good for them. My brain was not wired that way.
I don't know what I'm doing. I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing. All I know is that the pieces I'd been told throughout my life that would fall into place haven't fallen into place. And this isn't just about jobs or finding some place where you feel comfortable in society. It's about figuring out what you need to do to feel as whole of a person as you possibly can. What are you doing? What's the point? What is it all for? What do you really want? I've had fragments of things, here and there, over the years, that have filled me with a lightness of being and a sense of purpose, but now I don't feel as if I have much at all. Good things end unexpectedly, and you are left wondering what went wrong and what else you could have done and how will you ever get back to that place where you finally felt okay. Sometimes I doubt that I can, and I wonder what I'm supposed to do if that is the case. I don't know.
It is a loneliness, that I do not enjoy or accept, but it is a loneliness that I understand. My mind is tired. My heart is heavy.
It has been a difficult year. They say it will get better. I try to believe them.
When your life isn't moving forward in certain ways, or at least not in the ways you had planned, you start to question a lot.
You don't move on because you want to. You move on because you have to. Moving on is not the same as getting over.
The truth of the situation is that whenever fantasy and reality intersect, the end result is almost never positive. Fantasy is fantasy for a reason. When the allure and the novelty wear off, you come crashing back down to a fucked up situation in which the only solution is to stop doing what you've been doing. And for somebody, that means they're going to get hurt really fucking bad. Maybe you're naive or maybe you're in love or maybe they're one in the same and you can only begin to differentiate between the two after the debris has been cleared and the dust has finally settled. There isn't much left for you to do other than pull yourself together the best you can and hope that some moment of enlightenment hits you and you can start to begin to understand why it all happened the way that it did. It won't necessarily make things better automatically, but the insight you will (hopefully) gain from such realizations will help you to recognize how you got to the low point in which you've found yourself.
When people fuck things up, they often do not have the burden of being in a position of self analysis. You have an opportunity to grow. They will carry being how they were and ultimately learn that all things do eventually catch up to you regardless of how fast you think you are running from them or how skillful you believe you are at hiding from them. It'll happen. You've been painted out of the picture, so it won't directly impact your life, but maybe it'll make you feel better knowing that it is bound to happen.
People are terrible to one another. They are vicious and they are selfish and they are fucking weak.
This doesn't mean you have to be terrible as well. To them, or to yourself. If you choose to endure and overcome a complicated or painful situation, you will ultimately end up as a better person. If you choose to ignore it or to remain trapped, you will end up an emotional catastrophe and your issues will fester until you hate who you've become.
There are good people left in the world. They are few and far between. They are scattered and strewn about in a haphazard way. You will never meet most of them. You will get to know even fewer of them. For the ones that you do find, give them everything you have. Don't think twice. Don't think about how it could end. Put yourself out there and gain as much as you possibly can, while you can.
And then it will end. And then you will do what you have to do to survive until you encounter another one of these long lost creatures. These hidden dinosaurs. Rare and beautiful and the most endangered of a species.
There are good people left in the world. You probably won't find them.
It usually goes without saying that heartache is a cure for writer's block. You may not enjoy or like what you have to write, but the words are there and they flow with an ease that rarely exists during times of contentment. There is a reason why the world's most brilliant writers have commonly been completely miserable for extended periods of their life. I suppose there are pros and cons to this situation.
There are some things which you cannot prepare for. All you can do is wait, face it, and eventually find some sort of acceptance. Accepting a hardship isn't even that difficult. It's rather simple, actually. Once the dynamic has changed, when that phone has hung up and that person has left, you begin to accept it. You do not communicate with them. You occupy your time to fill your mind with thoughts that do not involve them. Your existence is now neatly organized into Life Before/Life During/Life After. You don't have to fucking do anything to "accept" the situation. It's being okay with this change that is difficult, and it is equally problematic because you're not really supposed to be okay with it. It is a big fucking deal. It has been months or years or whatever and that constant is now gone. It would be more alarming if you were not upset over the sudden change. What do you do? Who are you now? The Life After category is a fucking miserable place to be.
At the end of the day I find myself missing the little things that maybe I didn't think too much of as they were happening, but as soon as they disappeared, well, they cease to be little things at that point. The little things become much larger things, and they eat away at you and make you question everything that you are doing or could have done and it still, nothing changes. You keep feeling terrible because that phone still doesn't ring, and you keep feeling terrible because you can't really make anybody do anything regardless of how much you believe it could fix your life or theirs, or what is right or what is wrong. Life does not work that way.
They say that it takes time. People say a lot of things. It'll get better. Stay positive. You'll be okay. You'll be okay. Yeah.
It is a profound and overwhelming heartbreak.
And I feel like I am sleepwalking through the days.
I thought to myself of all the times I had felt like there would be no getting over it. As if that was the end and I couldn't begin to put together any sort of coherent path to recovery. You feel as if this one is different. Maybe it is. Maybe it is not. There's no telling. As you get older, regardless of how much you have learned and how much wisdom you have gained, some things do not get easier and some thing do not feel any less painful.
It takes time. That's really all we have.
You get to a point where it seems hopeless. You've had the foundation kicked out from under you. What can you do? Control what you can. The rest is a whirlwind, but you can only do so much. You can't keep killing yourself to try to make a situation work. Relationships take time, effort, work, all of these things. All of those elements are required in ways you can't even imagine until you're staring the issue directly in the face. You go with it. You struggle. You adapt. But you might get to a point where one person is doing much more than the other. It's supposed to be about helping each other, not avoiding each other. Not trying to see what you can get out of it. Not shrugging something off because it's inconvenient. You share the responsibility and you fight the burden together.
As an individual, you can only do so much. You can't just change somebody to be the ideal person that you've pictured them as for so long. Sure, things can change, but it's difficult for a reason. Meaningful things aren't meant to be easy or simple, and that's why it fucking sucks when it falls apart. If somebody doesn't want it as bad as you, then you are fighting a losing battle. It is a war you cannot win.
Do what you can, and do your best. At times it'll feel like hell, but if you truly follow what you believe in and what you feel, then you can't have that taken away from you. It won't fix everything, but you'll have that small shred of comfort. It wasn't you. You gave all you could. That's what it's really all about, that's the whole point of these things. Giving all that you can to somebody that you care about. That's love. It doesn't always balance out perfectly and there isn't always a happy ending. Maybe it just wasn't meant to be. Move on. Move forward.
And yet, there will be people who make such an impact on you, that you wonder if there really ever is any getting over them. Perhaps there will always be some fragment of them lodged in your heart. Some kind of memory or moment or a place in time that becomes a part of you. Maybe it's always there and you just learn to ignore it. Maybe it heals. I don't know. I hope that you find whatever it is that you need. You are loved and you are missed.
They tell me I am young, even though I do not feel that way. I don't know how it ends, I just know how I feel.
You are left alone at night to stare at your ceiling with nothing but a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach and a mind full of doubt that you will ever experience a spark that intense, ever again. Loving someone isn't easy. I do not think I would want it to be. Sparks fade.
I had written a few paragraphs about getting older and thinking about some events that took place a long time ago. I deleted most of it.
I don't live in the past. People talk about moving on, getting over, forgetting. There are a lot of things I don't want to forget. I don't want these memories to weigh me down and be a drag on my present life, but I feel they are important to hang onto. There is no time period in a person's life more existentially frustrating than that of the mid-twenties. The years between 22 and 30 are a fucking blur of overwhelming situations coupled with a lingering feeling of perpetual nothingness that begs the question, "What in the fuck am I doing?"
But, life goes on. You are who you are now because of who you were then.
I don't live in the past. But I think there will always be a part of me that misses the nights where the only thing that was important was being able to sing the songs I loved as loud as I could with the friends I loved even more. Music is incredibly important to me when it comes to the people I choose to involve myself with, in any sense of a relationship. It's such an important part of my life that I sincerely feel if another person cannot understand that attachment that I have to music, then they cannot understand me, so any form of companionship between the two of us is pointless.
I've had a few moments, like those nights, since those years a long time ago. As rare as they might be, I've had them, and they do still exist.
And when they do, it is overwhelming in the best way possible. It's a connection that means more to me than almost anything else. I've still got that little spark inside of me that tells me, hey, man, it's still there, you can still get what you've always wanted. It's not that difficult. It is not impossible.
I had a conversation about the future with a girl I know. The future can often be a very scary, very intimidating thing. For a person going through their 20s, there are all sorts of pressures to do things in a certain way. Expectations are placed by ourselves and by others. These expectations are not always fair, nor are they always reasonable.
She had a lot of uncertainty. A lot of worry. The conversation was littered with "What if's?" and "How's?" This is something I understand and can relate to with a great deal of empathy. We live in a society that tells us, essentially from birth, how our lives will be defined. The problem comes from the fact that these societal guidelines have left us with a feeling that one mistake will completely fuck up the path we are on. Your entire life will be determined by this one singular moment. A grade on a paper. A job opportunity missed. You lose and you're doomed.
I do not believe that life is so linear that I am defined by such individual events.
There are an infinite number of ways to arrive at whatever goal you have set out for yourself. The difference between these options and the "linear path" is the amount of work you are willing to put in to get what you want, and on top of that, how bad you really want what it is that you are working towards in the first place.
When you are overwhelmed by fear and uncertainty, how can you feel confident in anything, much less in overwhelming and ominous future? How can you possibly begin to feel that things are going to be okay and that it's all going to work out in the end?
I guess you can only know so much. Eventually, there is an intersect of what you know and what you feel and what you believe. You have to find a balance in these elements. They all have their role to play, and if you ignore one of them, chances are you're going to miss out on something important in the grand scheme of things.
At times, things get bad. Things get awfully shitty in ways that you can't even dream. That is life. You can't change that. What you can do, however, is persevere. In front of you, you have something you want, but you have an obstacle in the way. You can call it quits, you can take the easy way out, or you can make compromises to try and keep things simple. But why would you do that? What do you really gain from that? How does that help you grow as a person? It doesn't. Even if you arrive at the destination you had planned on in the first place, when you look back, you will now see these compromises and regrets and mistakes staring back at you. Sure, maybe something worked out, but at what cost? Who did you leave behind? What did you sacrifice? Are you really happy with how it all went? With decisions such as these, you must consider the weight which will remain on your heart after the dust has settled.
Everyone is growing up. Teenagers, twenty-somethings, thirties and so on. These questions and situations don't go away. All they do is change. So what do you do? You listen, you learn, and you don't give up. The most powerful words of wisdom I can give to any person right now, regardless of what difficulty they are experiencing, is to just not give up. It's not easy. That's the point. Take a look at the people who took the easy way out. The dropouts, the druggies, the top 40 radio soccer mom trophy wives. They are all the same. They are one giant fucking sack of disappointing nothingness. They didn't have what it took to deal with the shit long enough to get what they really wanted, so they settled on being inadequate and they'll live that way for the rest of their shitty, TV dinner network comedy lives. Fuck that.
I would rather think "What if?" before I took on a challenge with everything I had, rather than think "What if?" and look back with a black hole of regret. A challenge, you can conquer. A regret, you can only try to find a way to live with.
I couldn't tell her exactly how it would go. I didn't know the specifics. Nobody ever does.
Life is about choices. These choices are yours to make, and yours to take responsibility for. They are for you to base upon what you want for yourself and for those that you care about. The pressures of society and misguided peers are worth absolutely nothing.
Work hard, stay honest, and don't give up on the people you love or the passions that you have.
It will all be okay.
"We should not let our fears hold us back from pursuing our hopes."
3. I Can Make A Mess Like Nobody's Business - Gold Rush
4. Yellowcard - When You're Through Thinking, Say Yes
5. Thursday - No Devolucion
6. Jonathan Jones - Community Group
7. Angels & Airwaves - Love Pt. 2
8. Jack's Mannequin - People & Things
9. Emery - We Do What We Want
10. Mansions - Dig Up The Dead
11. Lydia - Paint It Golden
12. Taking Back Sunday - Taking Back Sunday
13. Funeral For A Friend - Welcome Home Armageddon
14. Butch Walker - The Spade
15. Go Radio - Lucky Street
16. M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
17. The Horrible Crowes - Elsie
18. New Found Glory - Radiosurgery
19. Transit - Listen & Forgive
20. Thrice - Major/Minor
Top Songs of 2011
1. Charlie Simpson - Riverbanks
2. Go Radio - The Truth Is
3. The Slowdown - Sex
4. Lovedrug - Pink Champagne
5. The Dangerous Summer - Siren
6. Yellowcard - Hide (Acoustic)
7. Emery - I'm Not Here For The Rage, I'm Here For Revenge
8. The Dangerous Summer - Waves
9. Charlie Simpson - Parachutes
10. I Can Make A Mess Like Nobody's Business - Train Stop
11. Funeral For A Friend - Owls
2. Death Cab For Cutie
3. Pretty much everything else not in my top 20.
Most Anticipated of 2012
1. Say Anything
2. The Dangerous Summer
5. Further Seems Forever
6. The Early November
8. Motion City Soundtrack
It's not how I expected it to be, but life rarely goes as you plan. You can set a goal, be it for tomorrow or for ten years from now, and it can all still change faster than you can piece it back together. I suppose it is how you adapt that determines your fate. You can let something consume you and hold you down, or you can move forward with your life.
I'm not an optimist by any means, don't get me wrong. It's just that I know what I want, and I'm fucking tired of people wasting my time (and theirs) because they don't. Or because they're scared. Or because it's easier to do nothing. Guess what? The world doesn't give a shit if you're scared. Time will not stand still for you. You don't get stronger by giving up. You don't learn from constant avoidance. If you aren't willing to take a risk or make some sacrifice, then don't expect a fucking thing from anyone else. That's not how it works, because it doesn't fucking work at all.
There's one conversation that stands out in my mind, and why exactly, I don't even fucking know. Maybe it was the desperation in your voice. Maybe it was the fact that regardless of how shitty you felt, you still didn't change. Maybe I was just pathetic for still wanting so badly to try.
"I haven't done this before. Having to lose somebody that's such a good friend, that's my best friend, and also my boyfriend."
You didn't have to. You chose to.
You didn't lose him. You left him.
According to the DSM-IV, for each year invested in a relationship, it takes approximately one to to months to recover from the point at which the relationship ends.
I suppose I shouldn't expect so much, so soon. Even from myself. But, expectations are worthless, remember? What happens is what matters. Not some glorified hope or wish of how it should be. Wishes are a fucking joke, man. Wishes are a fucking waste of time. Wishes are for people that will inevitably look back on their life with a remarkable amount of regret because in the moment, they couldn't do what they really needed to. We all have our faults. That does not mean we are lost causes.
I've been trying not to think about it lately. It doesn't really work. To be honest, it doesn't work at all.
How do you put this to words? How do you write a farewell to the band responsible for leading you down the musical path you've taken over the past ten years? I don't want this to be a mashed up synopsis of album reviews, so it's not going to be. If you're reading this, chances are you're already familiar with the musical endeavors this band has taken on over the years, and you know why their departure is such a big deal to their fans and the music community.
Thursday was my gateway drug. I had always been into music, and already I'd heard a few songs from bands that I would eventually come to love as time went on, but it wasn't until Thursday's Full Collapse that I really got it. I still remember my friend being so excited about this band he'd found, saying "You've just got to hear this." He put Full Collapse into the CD player, the robot intro played, and the explosive beginning of "Understanding In A Car Crash" kicked in. The feeling that record gave me, even on first listen, was something unforgettable. This was something new, and it was fucking incredible. This was big. This was different. This was important.
My first serious relationship started because of this band. Growing up in the middle of fucking nowhere in North Georgia, I wasn't exactly surrounded by the most culturally or musically aware people. I wore my Thursday shirts and I wore them with pride. I was bombarded with the cliche, "Hey man, it's Monday, not Thursday!" lines non stop. One day, I literally ran into a girl in a hallway. She took a second, looked at me, then saw my shirt. "Hey! Thursday! I didn't know anyone else around here even knew about them." I ended up dating that girl for nearly four years. All because of a t-shirt. Some things are just meant to be.
So we forgot our names, lying in the tall grass, underneath the billboard dreams.
Over the years of becoming more involved in the music scene, I had the pleasure of getting to know the guys in the band in a way I never could have imagined. I remember the first time I had the chance to actually spend time with them. Fuck, I was nervous. I felt out of place, like a fan boy just gawking at the whole experience, waiting for my eyes to open and I'd still be in bed and the whole thing would be nothing but a dream within a dream. Geoff screamed "Joeeeeeeeeee!" as I walked up the stairs. Do you realize how incredible it is to have somebody like that who is such a musical icon to you address you personally as a human? Not just as a fan. Not as my obscure internet alter-ego. As me. As Joe. Hugs and handshakes and drinks and stories and laughter. That kid that had spent all those lonely North Georgia years listening to the band, often at times when he felt like there was nothing else there for him but the music, here he was as a guest in their home. It was a surreal experience.
Later that evening, Andrew took me aside backstage before the band went on for their set. He told me how much it meant to him and the rest of the band how supportive I'd been over the years. I didn't understand. What thanks did I deserve? None. This band would be where they were without me ever saying a word. I was, still am, and always will be, just a guy who loves music. They have treated me like a true friend, and like a member of the Thursday family. All the thanks belong to them. They are why I am where I am, and they are why I connect with music in the way that I do.
How do you replace a band like this? How do you move on? It's like a relationship ending, and you understand why it has to end, you realize there isn't an alternative, and you know there isn't anything you can do to change it. The fact that it all makes sense does not make it any less heartbreaking.
The heartbreak that comes with just living through one day. All the good times that pass, all the friends we lose, in a lifetime on our way.
You don't go into a relationship thinking about the end. You don't start listening to a band thinking it's going to change you as a person.
That's life, and that's the beauty of music for people that truly love it. These songs, albums, and artists, they become woven into our stories of who we are as people. They engrave themselves into moments we'll never forget. Background music for instances in our lives that truly feel like cinematic experiences. A reminder of a person you loved as much as you loved that song or record, and they become so interconnected, there's no separating it. An indestructible alloy of music and emotion.
There are moments in my life that are defined by songs Thursday has written. There are lines in songs that take me back to a certain place, with certain people, and I feel the feelings I had so many years ago.
These albums we have had the privilege of being given, they are soundtracks for various eras of my life. As I grew up, so did the band. I cannot listen to their records without being reminded of how my life was at that point in time, when those songs first worked their way under my skin and into my blood. I do not think they will ever fully leave my system, nor do I want them to.
Everything in life eventually passes. We live in a finite world. Relationships end. Bands stop making music. It is what it is.
We grew up too fast, falling apart, like the ashes of American flags.
Please don't tell me they were just a band. That bands break up all the time. That I'll feel better, it's no big deal, I'll get over it. Why the fuck would I want to hear that right now? I don't want to feel better, and I don't want to get over it. I want to take the time to mourn the loss of something that I've invested the better part of my adult life in caring about. After more than ten years of the group pouring out as much emotion as they have into their music for their fans, I think they deserve the honesty and sincerity of their fans feeling upset at the fact it is coming to an end. When you lose something, the more meaningful it is, the more it hurts. This really hurts.
But that's why I fell in love with this band, that's what made them different from everything else I was hearing, and that's why they're so important to me. They made me feel something remarkable at a time in my life when nothing else felt good at all. They helped me make sense of not only the world, as fucked up as it was, but myself as well.
Thursday wasn't just a band to me. They were the band. They generated a spark in me which fueled a passion for music that I pray never, ever fades. I became a rabid fan, I became a critic, I made wonderful friends, I got to know my heroes, I started my own record label, and now here I am, and now here you are, reading this.
It is all because of this band. That is not an exaggeration. It all goes back to them.
Sometimes, all you need is a spark.
One of my favorite things to come from the band isn't even a lyric or a song. It's a line from where Geoff takes a moment to talk during the Five Stories Falling live performance. Geoff is giving the story behind "Standing On The Edge of Summer", telling the audience about coming to terms with the fact that his grandmother was nearing death.
And in that brief explanation of the song, he says, "It's about realizing how young you are, but how quickly you can go."
Moments like that change you. Music isn't stagnant. It does not exist in a vacuum. As you grow, the ways in which you relate to songs changes. There are lines off of Full Collapse and War All The Time that I understand and appreciate so much more now, having gone through everything I have, than I did upon first listen. This band has always been full of awareness and wisdom, and I as continue to learn the lessons that life teaches, more often than not there is something in a Thursday song I can tie it all back to.
Driving in your car, miss the stop sign, fall in love, just to get knocked down...
Growing up with this band made me realize a lot of things. I can only hope that the current generation of listeners is fortunate enough to find some artist that becomes for them what Thursday became for me. These guys found a way to make music transcend being a listening experience, and become a living experience. For that, I am forever grateful and thankful in a way that these words cannot adequately describe.
Thank you, so much, for the music and the memories you have given me. It made a difference. It made me better.
Thursday calling it quits is going to leave a hole in the world for quite some time.
I had pages and pages written and I threw it all away. All of these fucking inventions, these devices that have been created to make us "happier." These concepts to make life easier. We've been duped. People are farther apart than ever before. We've discovered a new way of how to miss and want something or somebody, to such dramatic lengths that previous generations could not even begin to comprehend what has happened. This fucking Golden Age. Who are we kidding. Who are you kidding.
You get older and that feeling in your stomach comes and goes. The worst things you can imagine. Sometimes they do actually happen.
And you just lay there at night. What else can you do?
The minutes the hours the days pass by and you're just laying in that bed and you wonder if that feeling is ever going to come back.
You could build the most beautiful city.
But what good is it?
If nobody lives there.
And that friend of mine, one of the few that's still there for some reason, after everything that has happened. I can still hear her telling me, "If it's really working out, then today is the last day you will cry."
Sometimes the thing you most want doesn't work out. Sometimes the thing you never expect to happen does.
You have to convince yourself it gets better. I don't know how you do it. I really don't. I'm not in a good place right now. I don't know how I'm going to convince myself of that to the point where I really fucking feel it and believe it. Maybe it's just instinct. Some fucked up sense of survival that kicks in even when the house of cards is falling to pieces. I don't have the answers, man. I just know I have to convince myself somehow. I know what I want. I thought I had it. I thought I knew how to keep it. I don't know anything anymore. I don't know a fucking thing.
I was told that if you fight for what you love and if you stay true to what you believe in, you'll get what you want. Part of me wants to believe that. The other part has been shown so many examples of that just not working out. Why do people try so hard to ignore how they feel? How come it's so easy for people to just give up? Why is everyone so god damn scared?
This hurts. I don't want to give up. But God, it hurts.
Hear me, my chiefs. I am tired. My heart is sick and sad.
From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.
To find a person that is as excited to talk to you, as you are to talk to them.
Or to want to hear a kind word when you aren't in a particularly good place. Some sort of reassurance from somebody whose opinion you really care about. Any glimmer of hope that even if it doesn't feel okay at the moment, that hey, it's still going to be okay. Don't let it get to you so much. It's going to get better, trust me.
I miss that feeling of knowing I have somebody that's willing to risk just as much as I am. Not only believing the words they tell you, but really feeling them. It's a certain kind of trust that doesn't come around often. It's something that you miss like hell when you realize it's no longer there. I miss that feeling of really believing, in spite of overwhelming doubt and frustration and nervousness, that the big picture is going to work out because you have this person by your side. Hey. It's okay. These things will pass. I have you. It will get better. It has to. I have you.
I really fucking miss that. I got used to it, but I never took it for granted. I knew what I had was important.
You can't just love somebody when it's convenient. That isn't love. That's an excuse. Loving somebody is hard because it's a constant. You can't pick and choose when to turn it on or off if the situation becomes problematic. You can't conduct a relationship based on that sort of thinking. Stop thinking. Go with your feelings. They are there for a reason. People think too much when they shouldn't, and not enough when they should. Loving somebody is accepting and understanding the situation you have facing the two of you, whatever it may be, and knowing that regardless of the outcome or how difficult it might get in the meantime, you need this person, and they need you just as badly. You give up a little part of yourself, you carry that burden, you accept the responsibility, you make that sacrifice.
In the end, all those things are trivial. They're just technicalities. Yeah, it gets fucking hard because that's how these things go. Life is hard. The more meaningful something is, the harder it will be to deal with. In the end, it's a matter of realizing that this person makes all of those technicalities worth it, and that having them in your life is a far better option than saying goodbye and leaving them behind. I would rather fight for something I love than take the easy way out and live a life of wondering what could have been.
You do what you can with the opportunities you are given.