Review Summary: Letting go
I remember you.
Your place in my collection signifies the lost hours, the lost years that were spent in isolation and contemplation. Soaring vocals I worshipped, thought-provoking words I’d taken for scripture, and a rock-solid instrumental presence acting as an effective buoy. Perfect for those lonely car rides, suitable for a quiet night behind the wheel. It was easy to get acquainted with each relatable stanza from the omnipresent songbird Hayley Williams, and even easier to dive into the catchy melodies that supported her.
Even then, it’s easier to love something when your rose-colored glasses give it a deeper significance. And even still, the significance wasn’t always a positive one. I could talk about how you got me through tough times as a teenager, or how you were my “anchor” when I was falling apart in my early 20s. But that only reminds me of the fact that my early 20s were… well… falling apart. And that my work shirts were reeking of the tireless hours spent in a dirty kitchen that would eventually close its doors. And that every drive down my mountain hometown was synonymous with the freefall that would eventually lead to rock bottom.
Do you remember me?
I’m sure I wore you out from playing you to kingdom come. I discovered you at a strange time, too, a time in which I wanted more alternative and less prog. More atmosphere and less outright aggression. More taste expansion and less mind closure. And you were right at the sweet spot, just the right crossroads that provided the right bridge to something new. Your outbursts of punk energy were met with a faux-folk beauty, and your contemplative midtempo alt-rock glued it all together. The shades of (justifiable) angst in some pieces melded with a palpable optimism in others, yet nothing sounded out of place.
Fittingly, your time in my collection has represented every peak and valley I can recall. In fact, listening to you now is just as painful as it is joyously nostalgic. And it all comes back to those car rides. Those fucking car rides. The ones that took me from one memory to another. I still remember belting out the soaring vocals of “All I Wanted” during the explosive final chorus. I can still recite every single line of the low-key campfire folk of “Misguided Ghosts.” I recall the self-righteous anger I had when I angrily uttered the lines of the melodic pop-punk classic “Playing God.”
I remember you.
I think everyone has that one piece of art. That one that returns to the mind as conflictingly as it does fondly. I’d like to say I know better than to listen to you again to let the all my past frustrations and closet skeletons resurface, but I don’t. There’s a reason you still stick out in my mind, and perhaps I should just accept that you’re a part of my musical DNA. It might be a matter of knowing my past will never change while focusing on the future in the meantime. And perhaps you were the signifier of closure that I needed to leave the harsher days behind me.
I don’t know. One thing you realize growing up is that it’s best to cherish each day that you’re healthy, alive, and comfortable. Because one day, you’ll realize those days are gone and you’re left wishing you spent those days more fulfillingly when you were younger. Brand New Eyes
reminds me of the days I wasted. It reminds me of the time I pissed away while waiting for something better to come at my doorstep. Most importantly, it reminds me of the time I rebounded and left the worst parts of me behind. So maybe it’s time to pack up Brand New Eyes
, put it under my bed, and leave myself with the memories it left me.