Dear readers and members of “The Listener.”
As you may or may not have noticed, there was not a meeting last week (due to unforeseen circumstances) and there is not one this week, as our space is being used for a separate meeting. Not to worry, meetings will start up again next week (4/14) and this week’s column will serve as our music and discussion for the two missed meetings.
For last week’s meeting, I had planned to talk about music that makes you feel free, music that gives you a sense of peace, or some kind of combination of the two. To facilitate this conversation, I had requested that members bring in a short playlist of songs that gave them mental serenity to play for the group and then discuss. To make up for the lack of the actual meeting, I would like to share my playlist that I was going to use for my part of the discussion.
Song #1: “An Artifact” by Reflections
Reflections are both my good friends and one of my favorite bands. “An Artifact” is still to this day my favorite song of theirs because of how it was there for me when I was first getting into them. College is a stressful experience, and stressful things happen outside of college as well. Between searching for a job and having no luck, having that weighing down on me even on nice summer days, and the stress of being halfway through the expensive version of high school, I had a lot of mental chaos that needed to be straightened out. This song served that purpose both musically and lyrically. The ambient leads and movements in the song add a reflective (pun not intended) mood to the song while the lyrics are the chin-lifting kind that I needed at that time. Still to this day this song will send chills down my spine and take me to a sunnier place. Notable lyrics: Like, “Don’t let today waste away; it only comes once.”
Song #2: “New Medicines” by Dead Poetic
This song takes me back 11 years to when I was first getting into middle school. Middle school is a dark time for almost everyone. Between puberty, finding your way in the new world outside of elementary school, and the likelihood of bullies (I still hate that word but the word I would rather use isn’t the most appropriate) it can seem very bleak and be a difficult time. I started getting into the more “underground” or “alternative” styles of music about halfway through my sixth grade year. Bands as heavy as Demon Hunter, Norma Jean, and Underoath found their way into my CD player, as did less heavy bands such as Falling Up and, of course, Dead Poetic. This song connected me on both a lyrical and musical level as did “An Artifact.” Accompanied with a music video that related to me on a symbolic level (a girl escaping a mental hospital equated to me escaping my daily struggles somehow), this song made an everlasting impact on me. Notable lyrics: “New medicines should ease this pain. They’re the only ailment for it, all over again.”
Song #3: “The Suffering” by Coheed & Cambria
This song also takes me back quite a ways. I was 11 the first time I heard Coheed & Cambria, and it was this song. I was a huge fantasy nerd when I was a kid (I still am, in all honesty), so watching the music video full of centaurs, mermaids, and heroism made me a very happy person. The song by itself is wonderful, too. This song is just a fun song and it makes me happy; that’s the connection I have to it. Notable lyrics: “Listen well, will you marry me? Are you well in the Suffering? You’ve been the most gracious of hosts. I may be invited but I’m not coming in.”
Song #4: “Logan Circle” by The Wonder Years
I could really just say, “Insert entire Wonder Years discography here,” for this one, but no amount of writing or music discussion can fully get the point across this time. The Wonder Years are a more recent favorite of mine, but they’ve done just as much for me, if not more, than any other band. I see life through their lyrics, and things make sense to me when I listen to them. I chose “Logan Circle” for this example for a number of contextual and lyrical reasons. This song comes on the album called “The Upsides,” and much of this album is about finishing college, going out into the “real world,” and thinking back to where you’ve come from. “Logan Circle” is about the littlest things (the turning on of a fountain, for example) igniting a positive mental change. The song talks about acknowledging how you feel and that it can always be worse, appreciating the little things in life, and realizing the difference between sadness and exhaustion. Contextually, I am about to finish college myself. My stress level is through the roof day in and day out, but whenever I listen to The Wonder Years, my proverbial “fountain at Logan Circle” is turned on and I feel a little bit better. I am able to move forward when I listen to The Wonder Years and that’s why they’re one of my favorites. Notable lyrics: “They turned on the fountain today, at Logan Circle. I felt something in me change.” And “I’ve been better but I’m feeling okay. I’m not even sad anymore; I’m just so tired most nights.”
The next meeting for “The Listener” will take place on Tuesday April 14th. I’m leaving my business email at the bottom of this post. Feel free to email me if you’re interested in coming to any of the meetings. The next meeting is going to be another more open meeting. If you’d like to bring a short playlist and have a discussion on the subject of this blog post, feel free to do so. Otherwise, I’ll have some music picked out and we can listen to it and discuss any thoughts or opinions about it. Music is a fluid thing, so this next meeting can be as well.
See you soon.