I’m one of those nerds everyone makes fun of when they say “music saved my life.” Because it did. Can we not make fun of those people anymore? Cuz those people use music as their will to live.
The thing about music is that it’s people behind the songs – real people who experienced what you are experiencing. Does that make sense?
Let me use an example. Max Bemis of Say Anything is one of my role models. For 7 years, I’ve looked up to this man so much. He went from some lonely drug-addicted, alcoholic to a man with a wife, two daughters, and a successful career in the music industry. He hit rock bottom, got help from mental hospitals, and came out as a changed man.
I remember discovering …Is A Real Boy when I was in 9th grade. Alive With The Glory of Love played on my Pandora and I was like, “Whoah, let me check this band out,’ and holy shit, I loved them. Of course, since this was 2010, the punk/emo/whatever scene was in its last years, so everyone was moving on from that type of music. I didn’t care. I still don’t give a shit, I love all the bands who made it big from 2000 to 2009.
My favorite song off of …IARB is definitely Yellow Cat Slash Red Cat. I have plans of getting a yellow cat and red cat tattooed somewhere on my body. Again, I have no shame or care at all. To me, the lyrics describes Max as this lazy ass of a man who suffers from apathy. He sees all this small, insignificant shit going on that can easily be stopped (two cats fighting, child playing with a shotgun, etc.) and just doesn’t do anything about it. He doesn’t care about his future, what’s going on around him, or not wanting to “risk a scratch” by breaking two cats up.
Sometimes I feel that way. I find myself not caring. It’s not every day, it’s very on and off. One day I’m very motivated to get everything done and will solve insignificant problems with no strain at all, and some days it’s hard for me to even care about cleaning up or resolving an argument I’ve had with someone.
But wait, I know you’re asking: “Trey, if you relate to this nihilistic, depressing music, why does it make you feel better?” Because like I said earlier, this is a real person who knows what I’m going through writing this. I see Max’s road to recovery and I get hopeful; because although I didn’t suffer exactly like he did, I still relate to him and know if he can get better, so can I.
Brand New is also one band I look up to. Jesse Lacey writes some pretty great music on a ton of different subjects – depending on others, religion, depression, loneliness, etc.. The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me is another album I’ve listened to about 100 times in one week. Jesus Christ is my favorite off the album because I’ve had my doubts about believing in something I Don’t understand. It’s still a scary thing, because what if all of it is true? What would happen to me?
Matty Healy of The 1975 came a long way in his song writing. Their first album was “how many times can we mention underage sex, weed, coke, and money in this album?” Their newest album I Like It When You Sleep… is so well written. The improvement from self-titled to that is remarkable. Matty writes more about his thoughts and experiences and gets more emotional in his lyrics. The Ballad of Me and my Brain is definitely my favorite on the album.
I can’t write a post on music as a coping device without mentioning My Chemical Romance. Whether you had an emo phase or not, you cannot deny that MCR will forever go down in history as one of the most iconic bands of our times. The songs, fan base, and members prove it wasn’t just a band – it was a movement. When the band announced them leaving the industry, the love and support everyone showed was beautiful. The reason they did it wasn’t because they weren’t making money or “creative differences.” All four guys agreed their wasn’t anything meaningful left to write anymore, and they didn’t want to sell out and write something they didn’t care about.
What I love most about MCR was that it wasn’t all about Gerard Way’s story. Everyone in the band had their own influences on the music and fans.
My absolute all time favorite band is Twenty One Pilots. I remember sitting in my math class senior year listening to some Pandora radio station and Holding on to You played. I saved it to check out the band later, and from then I was hooked on them. Vessel’s upbeat, schitzoid-pop tunes mixed with dark, depression lyrics was something completely new in the industry.
Self-Titled was full of so much emotion. From Implicit Demand for Proof to Isle of Flightless Birds, I can point out one part in every song that gives me this feeling of hope. Addict With a Pen is my favorite off the album, because it’s all basically having hope. While I’m not religious at all. Self-Titled’s subtle undertones of Tyler Joseph’s belief in God didn’t stop me from relating to what he sings about. What I love about it is he doesn’t leave it as a definite referral to religion. The listener can interpret it any way he or she wants.
Regional at Best is totally underrated. Tyler gets out of the sad piano music and makes music that describes him – happy, upbeat, and bright on the outside, but lonely, hurting, and depressed on the inside.
Exactly like me.
Last year when they released Blurryface, I had that album playing for at least 4 months straight. My icon for this blog is Tyler’s rendition of Blurryface. Never have I heard a band write an album on one common subject and doing well with it.
Blurryface is about Tyler (and even Josh Dun’s) struggle with this ugly, chaotic entity in their minds named ‘Blurryface.’
Blurryface isn’t something just they suffer from. We all can have a Blurryface fucking us over. It’s anxiety, stress, depression, sadness, anger, that thing we keep repressing.
Blurryface is one of my favorite concepts in any form of art.
Tyler Joseph is another one of my idols because he makes himself so vulnerable. He throws down his walls and defenses to show us we’re not fighting alone. Blurryface is him being as vulnerable as possible. It’s his story, his battle, and his conquest for everyone to hear.
Goner, the last song on the album, is my favorite. The way I listen to the song is Tyler asking for help. He admits he can’t do it alone, which is okay. Our minds can be too much for us to handle alone, sometimes we need a person to listen to us.
When I first listened to the song at 4 in the morning when the album leaked, I cried my fucking eyes out. When he got to the end of the bridge and started screaming “don’t let me be gone” and the music started getting really heavy, I felt this rush of emotions going through me, because I felt like I had someone who didn’t want me to fade away or become lonely. Even though I’ve never met any of these musicians, I still feel like they’re there for me.
I’ve basically made this post into a review for all my favorite bands and albums. The whole point I’ve been making is music is a great healing device because it’s real people who understand you. Sometimes the words we can’t speak or hear can only be delivered through music.
It’s also a great way to express your emotions – like writing.
One thing about music that I don’t understand is this division between genres. Fans in one genre tend to discriminate others for their music taste, which I will admit to doing. Music has no color or stereotype, really. Whatever lyrics you hear in a “dumb emo” song are basically the same words spoken in a hip hop or pop song. No matter the style, music is a form of writing to express yourself. If you really look, you can pull out one song from every genre that share a common subject.
Whatever you listen to, if it helps you get through a dark time or just makes your bad day better, stick to it. Don’t give it up because of some other person’s opinions.
If it’s anything, you’re making the artist happy because you’re listening and relating to his or her work.
I’ll end this post with something I found from Twenty One Pilots:
“ Basically, we are all responsible for the preservation of our personal joy; but happiness is different. Joy is not circumstantial, happiness is. You can be depressed and still have joy. You can be suicidal and still have joy. We all stop thinking and we all stop talking and we all stop sharing and we all stop creating, because by doing any of these things we quickly find out just how unhappy we are. But that’s okay. That’s normal. Don’t let the fear of unhappiness cripple your pursuit of finding what it is you believe. Since joy is found in belief, we all have to push through unhappiness to find joy. Basically. “