Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The Kids Aren't Alright

There's something so special about hearing a song for the first time. The second verse is the unknown and the lyrics are like bible passages, entering your mind and teaching you things you never even thought of before. Love them or hate them, Fall Out Boy are a band that have never disappointed me in that respect. A lyric I thought was strange upon first hearing lingers in my mind until I've decoded it in a way that fits me and my life. I may never know what it was really supposed to mean, but once I've unravelled it from my perspective, it feels like I've analysed a whole Shakespeare play. I sometimes think that the only reason I can successfully write an essay analysing a film/book/poem, is because I've spent years attempting to do the same to Pete Wentz's lyrics.

This week, Fall Out Boy released another song from their upcoming album, named 'The Kids Aren't Alright'. When I heard it I immediately thought 'if my life had a soundtrack, I would want this to be the last song'. It made me think of walking off into the sunset as the credits roll and the audience breathes a sigh of relief at your character development or the happy ending. Although I know that life never ends at the happy moment. this song truly gave me hope for a moment.

This is one of those songs that makes me feel something I can't explain. It makes me desperate to see how things turn out, and it makes me feel like it's going to be okay. Although it is a song from a band I love, I don't feel the ecstasy and insanity of obsession any more. Within this song they became no longer the four personalities I spent my teenage years reblogging on tumblr or tweeting about, but just people playing the instruments. I'm not playing the song and thinking 'OH MY GOD I LOVE FALL OUT BOY', I'm thinking 'I love this song and the way it makes me feel'. This makes me feel like the maturity of their music isn't a bad thing, and just means the music is simply more important than the band. Does that even make sense? In my head it does. Basically, in the past when I would have thought about how much I loved a Fall Out Boy song, I now just love a song. The song overshadows the band, which I think is a good thing because it means it truly is good music, and I'm no longer appreciating it because of who wrote it.



It triggered so many thoughts in my head. One day you're going to be a fragment of somebodies fading memory, or simply a collection of pixels stored in a dusty photo album. It's tragic yet inevitable, that once you die your body will return to the flowers as life goes on above, without you. Sometimes I sit with my friends and I watch their teenage smiles, yet to experience the heartache and happiness their life will lead them to. I look at them and the only thing I can think is 'we're all going to die one day'. As depressing as that sounds, I've found it to be oddly calming. The one thing we all have in common is that we will all end, and it feels strangely content that they are the only three people in the world who truly know what it's like to sit on the floor of a corridor and laugh with me. We have this insane secret bond that nobody else will ever understand or experience, because they aren't laughing with us.

This sounds like rambling but the line 'all the people I saw in the old photograph are dead' provides me with a sense of serenity, because it reminds me that while somebody else is leading a chaotic life one day, I will simply be a person who once walked on the earth, merely a figure in a photograph to them. They won't know how I have a habit of playing with my hair when I'm nervous, or biting the inside of my cheek when I know someone's watching me. They won't know my sense of humour or the films that make me cry, and they definitely won't know how I felt when I heard a song I loved. To me, that is insanely reassuring. It doesn't matter that my spanish exam is tomorrow and I didn't revise, because I won't be remembered for that. I won't even be remembered at all. In the same way that they will never know about the time I looked okay at a party or told a joke that made everyone laugh. 

"I still feel that rush in my veins"

I love hearing peoples stories. I loved when my granddad used to walk through the supermarket and laugh to himself about things his old friends used to do, while I tried to imagine him without grey hair. I love my mums rebellious high school stories and my dads memories of old rock concerts. I love when my sister tells me things she hopes I'll learn from or when my brother tries to make me laugh. I think that you can truly know somebody, not through the stories themselves, but through the type of stories they tell. I used to listen to a band who spat out such angry words and told me stories of betrayal, lies and heartbreak that me, an angry teenager, fell in love with and turned up when I didn't want to hear anyone else's voice. Since then I have become accustomed to their sad stories and found myself lost in miserable lyrics with an upbeat melody in the background. To hear this song, which I interpret as reflection and a love letter to the past, came as a shock. I am so used to hearing songs of discomfort or hatred for a situation, and the contrast from that to a song praising the past was strange for me.


Hearing somebody reflect upon their past is so tragic. Moments that are now lost in time were once within their reach, and it breaks my heart to know that they would change things if possible. Sometimes you will curse yourself because of a stupid mistake for years, and other times you can get up and laugh it off. I feel like FOB have often been a 'laugh it off' kind of band, so it's refreshing that along with the obvious change in their sound, they've changed their perspective. Although this may be incorrect, this is how I, as a fan, interpret the song.

For the past two years I haven't been feeling myself, although maybe that means I have changed in a way I was unprepared for. Despite previously fearing change, I now crave it, wishing it would enter my life and alter me. Feeling like somebody who is half there is very strange, and sometimes I wonder if anything is even worth it any more. Hearing the lyrics 'and in the end, I'd do it all again' struck a chord in me, so strongly it was like butterflies in my stomach, the same way I felt when I first heard 'doc there's a hole where something was', which shocked me at the time because it seemed to put my feelings into words. It was like somebody had picked me up by my shoulders and shook me, screaming 'it's going to be okay!'. Somehow, being told that the ride is worth it by a band who's lyrics I have used as my shield for years meant more than it would have meant coming from anyone else. Maybe every tear and every day of dragging yourself out of bed will be worth it in the end. Maybe you'll realise that all the moments of muscle-pulling laughter were worth those of sitting on the shower floor, empty of hope.

I often talk about the power of music, but sometimes it is forgotten. If anything can remind you how important music is, I hope my spontaneous essay/diary entry/rambley mess can be that.

Empty your sadness like you're dumping your purse on the bedroom floor.

Image source: alternative press


Friday, 12 December 2014

end of all things

Do you ever hear a song, and suddenly it's as if every fibre of your body has been replaced with something different? It might be the hottest day of the year, and the sunlight may be falling onto your skin as you attempt to ignore the sound of an ice cream van, but pressing play on a particular song will transport you into a January snow storm. I can't even explain the power that music has over my emotions. If you play 'Save it for the bedroom' by You Me At Six, somewhere inside I'll feel the same way I did in year 6, sitting in my friends living room and watching Kerrang! TV for hours. Whenever My Chemical Romance come on, it's as if I'm once again a pre-teen wearing ripped skinny jeans and screaming my heart out in Manchester Arena, as Gerard Way sings the words back to me and I pray to be noticed by him. There's a kind of energy bestowed in a melody that means so much more than a place in the Top 40 chart.

The reason I have been pondering this lately, is because I re-discovered an album I forgot about. For some reason the last song caught my attention, and I played it on repeat for the rest of the night. It makes me think of looking through frosted windows and being able to see my breath against the darkness. It's like I can smell fried doughnuts in the cold, fun fair air and I'm back in a crowded cinema, giggling to Breaking Dawn. Strangely, the song hadn't even been released at the time, yet it makes me think of those days. 

Although time travel is currently unrealistic, music provides something so close. It gives you the same feeling you get when you walk past a stranger wearing the same perfume your best friend used to wear in high school, and suddenly all the memories of teenage summers and tears come flooding back. It's like you've opened a door to another version of yourself, and for a moment your body is full of the same butterflies and happiness you had at the time.

There are songs that I remember playing through my smashed iPod, under the covers at 3am, or on the bus as I attempt to ignore screaming year 7's and try to contain the excitement from feeling as if the lyrics were written for me. Even auto-tuned, tremendously bad pop music that I swear to hate makes think of being crammed in my bedroom with my best friends, pretending to be adults while getting ready for a 13th birthday party; the radio playing in the background of our laughter. I feel oddly protective of tragic 2009 club anthems I remember being sent via Bluetooth on my pink Samsung phone in primary school. There are songs that make me miss staying out too late and walking home in the dark.

Although hearing 'Let It Go' now makes me want to hit my head against a wall, it makes me feel weirldy content that in 10 years, a child who is currently 5 will hear it and think of the innocence of being so young. It's this generations 'Hakuna Matata' or whatever Disney song you grew up screeching. Music is the one constant in most of our lives, it is what moulded you into who you are today. When I leave high school in a few months, I'm going to listen to the High School Musical sound track and reflect on how different those films were to my actual experience, and how cheated I felt on my first day almost 5 years ago.

Maybe one day I'll be an adults, and my current favourite song will come on, on one of those bad radio stations for adults re living their youth. Maybe I'll be reminded of minty bubblegum, long walks home and laughing in freezing classrooms with my friends. Or maybe I'll immediately think of exam stress, feeling left out and missing the bus. I hope I have more happy memories to look back on than sad ones.