One of the great philosophers of this century once wrote: “Opinions are immunity for being told you’re wrong.” I agree. And I’m using it to preface this post because some people may not agree with what I have to say, and that’s okay…it’s your opinion. And if you are a woman, feel free to have an opinion and then change it later – apparently it’s a prerogative that you have been granted.
I am a nostalgic person (which I recently realized is sorta just connected to mirror neurons) by nature. It might be a male thing, I’m not sure, but it’s always about the ‘old days’ when everything was better and fuller and the air was cleaner and the grass was greener…and now I sound like a punk song. Seriously though, nostalgic people tend to have significant memories of particular things: for me it is what music I was listening to at some point in my life.
Mae reminds me of a specific Winter Youth Retreat, the album “MMHMM” of becoming friends with Jeremiah Baldwin, Anberlin brings back Fordwich, the Milanovich’s and Aaron Carter (not THE Aaron Carter). United’s ‘Point of Difference’ tells me of my first journey to Costa Rica, along with an Anberlin song called ‘ReadyFuels’. It’s pretty amazing really how the brain works together with the soul to make a memory into an emotion, even so far from the actual event.
The crazy part comes when us nostalgic people want to go back and try and relive. Or maybe not relive so much as ‘re-experience’. Unfortunately, we normally find out that the reminiscing is much better than the actual thing. Mostly because we remember it a lot differently.
I was considering this recently. I found an album that I listened to in a forgone era of my life and popped it in to see if it was still as potent or mesmerizing. I got a headache to show for it mostly. Mind you, they weren’t my favourite band, but there were a few songs that I used to really like. But now they lacked what was there before. I wanted to know why!
I’ve decided to call them ‘in-between bands’. The one thing that is important in any business is a customer base. You want to have a product that is marketable to a group or groups of people that will always be there. If you limit yourself to one particular group, when they no longer need your product, you are in for trouble. Simple. Most of these bands are like that. Now, not all of them. Some of them were never intended for what I am about to explain, but some of them seem to be.
What I was realizing is that many of these bands I used to love, I loved for a reason. Yes, they had catchy tunes and great lyrics, but there was something else there. They were talking about life in terms of God. Maybe not mentioning Him directly, but in subtle and inconspicuous ways. They would sing about a relationship, but in reference to how it wasn’t a good moral thing; or of how they had insecurity, but then they realized they had a purpose. It was that part that attracted myself and other young people to these bands. They were speaking to us, to our generation, to our struggles in ways we could understand and relate to.
Even heavier bands that I never got into. Demon Hunter, Underoath, and other death metal bands. Sure their music was wicked heavy, but their lyrics were still ‘in-between’.
The problem here, you can see. It is hard to continue listening to these bands for an extended period of time. One of two thing will happen: Either your music taste will change, and Underoath’s screams will be a little too intense for you; or you will listen to the lyrics of these bands and do what they say – move on to another level of your faith and thus, start listening to more Christian-y, Church-y bands. In fact, maybe that’s why Jesus Culture and United have become so popular. Perhaps they prospered because of these ‘in-between’ bands. Even further, perhaps that is why bands like Kutless transformed from edgy, punkish, alternative rock to just Christian contemporary pretty much-ish. But that’s just a theory.
It’s my opinion. Some people won’t believe me, but there was a time that I needed Relient K in my life. Even TFK, and Falling Up (what happened to them?), and that one song by From Autumn to Ashes. But now, I guess I’ve moved on. While I can still appreciate their genius musically, the songs just don’t do the same for me now as they once did. Once, they were about all I held on to. And I guess that’s why they died.