Ah, music. It’s important to all of us, probably. It makes us happy, it makes us cry, it gets us through long bus journeys and the daily walk to uni (or, you know, daily walk to wherever your daily walk takes you to). Its influence really sets in during our teenage years, I think, and it never really leaves you. Sure, tastes develop and change, but it’s all still music, you know?
13-year-old me was all about the music. I bought a guitar (that I still can’t play), I bought the Kerrang! Magazine every Wednesday, I only really hung around with people who had similar music taste as me. I’m not as… obnoxious as I was then, though. I don’t judge people on the music they like any more. I can appreciate a good JBiebs song even if I’m not a fan of him as a person, and 1D has some bangers. I like dancing to music in clubs and I think pop music is fun as heck. I’m varied now.
At the start of 2015, I made a playlist of songs to get me through the year. All positive, fighting, keep-moving-forward songs. I didn’t do that this year, and I haven’t touched that playlist in a long time. However, lately I’ve been thinking about the influence music still has over me. I’m not in the best place in my life, and music is one of the things that keeps me moving. Here are a few of the songs shaping and saving 21-year-old me.
SONG: Migraine – Twenty One Pilots
They’re trying to eat me, blood running down their chin,
And I know that I can fight or I can let the lion win,
I begin to assemble what weapons I can find,
‘Cause sometimes to stay alive you gotta kill you mind.
Shadows will scream that I’m alone,
But I know we’ve made it this far, kid.
I think there’s something, for me, about the struggle, the perceived helplessness, and then – the fight. “Am I the only one I know waging my wars behind my face and above my throat?” God damn, I feel that. My mind is my biggest enemy, and sometimes it can feel like the only person that doesn’t want me to succeed is my own head. It’s what stops me from getting out of bed in the morning, from picking up my pen and doing the work I know I really need to do now. But, like 21p say – we’ve made it this far.
SONG: The Ballad of Me and My Brain – The 1975*
Well, I think I’ve gone mad – isn’t that so sad?
What a shame; you’ve lost the brain that you never had.
I love The 1975. This isn’t even my favourite song off their second album, but I haven’t skipped it a single time since I got it. There hasn’t been a time when it’s come on my iPod or iTunes and I’ve thought “nah, not in the mood for that”. It’s another, “wow, I need to take care of myself” song, and it’s true. Asking for help and taking time to take care of myself is something I really struggle with, and it’s a problem I come back to again and again and again. I know it’s okay to ask for help, I know it’s okay to not be okay, and yet I always end up just pretending I’m fine until it’s almost too late. This song is a reminder to me: look after your brain, and yourself, before it’s too late.
SONG: Turbulence – Bowling For Soup
And we’re all just passengers tonight,
And we’re all just travelling through our lives,
We will reach our destination,
So just hang on for the ride,
Say a prayer and close your eyes,
It’s just a little turbulence.
Bowling For Soup were my favourite band when I was younger. I stopped listening to them when I was still in high school, not for any reason but just because I just sort of drifted away from them – but I never stopped loving them. Then they came to Liverpool last February, and my partner got me tickets to see them, and all of that love started burning up again. It was at that gig that I first heard ‘Turbulence’, and it just makes me think that everything can get better if you give it a chance to. Turbulence is temporary – if you can get through this bad patch, you’ll find something better on the other side. I’m only 21, so there’s plenty of time to smooth out the bumps.
SONG: Stay Alive – Andy Black
Stay alive for the good times,
Stay alive through the bad.
Okay, it’s a bit on the nose, isn’t it? But why is that a bad thing? We don’t always need metaphors and similes and personification and all of those beautiful nuggets of imagery – sometimes we don’t need to force people to dig around to find what we mean. Sometimes it’s okay to just say it. Sometimes that’s all you need to hear. Stay alive.
I’ve never been a fan of Black Veil Brides simply because it’s not my music taste. I was really surprised when I discovered Andy’s solo album and found that I love every song. It’s very different to BVB’s sound and much more to my taste. This, again, isn’t even my favourite song, but it’s one of them. So, get this: Tuesday before last (May 10th, 2016) I discovered Andy Black, listened to his album, and decided I loved him. Last Monday (May 16th, 2016), I saw him live. That’s less than a week. That sort of sealed it for me – obviously, the stars had aligned for me to love Andy. ‘Stay Alive’ was the first song Andy played at the gig, and let me tell you, it’s just as glorious and encouraging live as it is recorded.
I think it’s just that simple, really: stay alive for the good times, stay alive through the bad. He’s not saying it’s easy, he’s just saying it’s worth it. And it probably is. Like I said – I’m only 21, what the heck do I know? It’s a struggle, and it’s exhausting, but I’ll try.
BONUS: SONG ALBUM: Astoria – Marianas Trench**
‘Cause I’ll find out in all due time what happens to never say die // Sometimes you can’t yell loud enough, Sometimes a whisper’s just too much // Don’t let go tonight; by tomorrow this will be yesterday // And I’ve been broken but I’m better every day // I’d rather be a riot than indifferent // [THE ENTIRE BRIDGE FROM DEARLY DEPARTED BUT IT SEEMS EXCESSIVE TO POST THE WHOLE THING…]
There isn’t a song on this album that I don’t love. I think this might be my favourite Marianas Trench album – influenced only a teeny bit by the fact that The Goonies is one of my all-time favourite films. I love the 80s sound, I love the words. I love everything about his album. It makes me want to get up and that’s enough. But also… just, there’s fight in this album. We’re back to the ‘fight’ thing. It’s defiant and it can seem a little bitter but it’s powerful and I love that. I want to be defiant, too.
I’d rather be a riot than indifferent.
Okay, so, common theme here is that all (most?) of these songs relate to mental health, which is the thing I am struggling with the most right now. I’m not going to pretend that these songs have made me all better, because that’s not it at all: these songs encourage me. It’s okay to ask for help, it’s okay to not be okay, it’s okay to break things down to their simplest parts if that’s how you can complete this task. Ask for help. Get through today. Stay alive.
There are dozens and dozens of songs that I love and that make me happy and they are equally as important as these songs, but when I got the idea for this blog post and started thinking of songs to include, all of these came almost instantly. This is, basically, a miniature keep moving forward playlist.
I would love to hear what songs are important (or have been important) to all of you: they don’t have to be as on the nose as mine. Does ‘Call Me Maybe’ get you out of bed? Does ‘What Do You Mean’ make you want to get up and dance? Are these songs having an effect on you? I want to hear what’s important to all of you, so leave a comment!
*No YouTube link for this one because I can’t find a video with the whole song! Check it out on spotify instead (you’ll need an account!)
** Since this is an entire album, again, it made more sense to link to spotify. You still need an account!