Singled Out – New Found Glory

I’m gonna share a little story with you. Surprising, right? *eyeroll*

When I was in middle school, I LIVED for my Walkman cd player. I took it everywhere with me – especially on car rides with my mom, who was a fervent country music fan.

I was being bullied in shop class by the biggest jock in the school (middle school jock – what a title, right?!). He harassed me daily, in front of the whole class.

I had boundless anger fot it. I shook, and held back fear that I’d end up breaking his face in front of a room of my peers.

My mom saw my struggle (One of the many reasons this woman is amazing). She bought me Sticks and Stones by New Found Glory, and honestly, it changed my life.

The pop punk era of the early 2000’s produced a lot of shit. Truly. Honestly.

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ANYWAY, Sticks and Stones got me through the fuckery and utter humiliation I was experiencing.

Since then, a few of the songs have lingered on for me, “Singled Out,” being the biggest one. I actually featured it on my “Whiney-Time Sounds,” post back in 2015.

Regardless of the fact that a lot of the songs border on emo, and Jordan Pundik’s nasally vocals make them seem whiney, this album has huge significance for me. It is an album that helped me feel empowered and not so alone.

Now, as a grown-ass adult, few things hurt worse than a breakup. And the biggest secret of all? Friend breakups hurt the worst. Sticks and Stones is back in heavy rotation lately due to a shit-ton of stressors in my life, and I’m honestly happy about it.

“Singled Out,” for all its simplicity, speaks the exact words I’ve felt over and over, without marring them with adult complexity:

“What will you do when there’s no one to fall back on? I won’t be there – I’ve learned my lesson. What will you do when there’s no friends to fall back on? Because they’ve all been stepped on.

Why’d you have to go and make me say these things about you? Why’d you have to turn around – after all that we’ve been through?”

When life decides to flip you the bird, there’s no shame in picking up an album that makes you feel more empowered, and less hope/helpless. Coping’s great, isn’t it?

Whiney-Time Sounds

Sometimes I’m a sad kid.

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No, not quite like that.

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There. That’s better.

ANYWAY…

These are my favorite sad-time tunes. The ones that I ugly-cry to, and the ones that I get all angry and self-righteous listening to. They range from bratty teen anthems to songs that I’m proud to listen to.

Don’t judge. You have a sad-time playlist too. You just aren’t brave enough to publish it.

1. Jesus Christ – Brand New
Whiney-Time Lyrics: Do you believe you’re missin’ out? That everything good is happening somewhere else? But with nobody in your bed, the night’s hard to get through.

2. They’re Not Horses, They’re Unicorns – Bayside
Whiney-Time Lyrics: You’re pulling at your teeth and I’m the Novocain you pump in your cheeks. Thats why I’m still around, you’ve got blood running down your chin.
But you suffered peacefully. She was a termite eating away at my roots. I was just a lost soul who needed a home. I was filling a void with you. And I, I can’t, can’t wait until you’ve see see seen what depth and disgust has done to me.  And I spent three years wishing for two things: that one day you’d break, and I’d get to see how all the choices you made would drive you insane. I wish we never met.

3. Ghost Town – First Aid Kit
Whiney-Time Lyrics: I swear I can be better. I could be more to you. But there are things that lie in my path, that I just have to do.

4. I Can Feel Your Pain – Manchester Orchestra
Whiney-Time Lyrics: Cause I can feel your pain, in my bones, in my bones. I was scared to call your mother for news that you weren’t getting better. Well my God, what the hell am I supposed to do?

5. Don’t Wanna Be Your Girl – Wet
Whiney-Time Lyrics: I don’t wanna be your girl no more, no more. I just wanna see your face at home…I’m not living right so I decide that: I don’t wanna be your girl no more.

6. Playing God – Paramore
Whiney-Time Lyrics: If God’s the game that you’re playing, well we must get more acquainted. Because it has to be so lonely to be the only one who’s holy.

7. My Special Moment – The Vandals
Whiney-Time Lyrics: This is my special moment. Don’t question me or disagree. I know that I have earned this. Dammit I deserve this, do not fuck with me. It’s my special time.

8. Far Behind – Social Distortion
Whiney-Time Lyrics: With friends like you, who needs enemies? You ain’t right, you ain’t never gonna be…You shake my hand, while you’re pissing on my leg. I’m cutting you loose, I don’t need this misery.

9. Born to Die – Lana Del Rey
Whiney-Time Lyrics: Don’t make me sad, don’t make me cry. Sometimes love is not enough and the road gets tough; I don’t know why.

10. Cath… – Death Cab for Cutie
Whiney-Time Lyrics: And soon everybody will ask what became of you: ’cause your heart was dying fast, and you didn’t know what to do…The whispers that it won’t last roll up and down the pews. But if their hearts were dying that fast, they’d have done the same as you. And I’d have done the same as you.

11. Ache With Me – Against Me!
Whiney-Time Lyrics: Your voice echoes in the back of my mind. I see your face when I close my eyes. Do you share the same sense of defeat? Have you realized all the things you’ll never be? Ideals turn to resentment, open minds close up with cynicism. I’ve got no judgement for you – come on and ache with me.

12. Paper Bag – Fiona Apple
Whiney-Time Lyrics: Hunger hurts, and I want him so bad, oh it kills. ‘Cause I know I’m a mess he don’t wanna clean up. I got to fold ’cause these hands are too shaky to hold. Hunger hurts, but starving works, when it costs too much to love.

13. Singled Out – New Found Glory
Whiney-Time Lyrics: I figured all the years we shared were proof enough to extend my hand and help you. I know that getting started can be rough. Enthused smile, you seemed grateful – I felt good about myself. That’s until the day you showed me you don’t need anybody else. Why’d you have to go and make me say these things about you? Why’d you have to turn around? After all that we’ve been through…

First Album Love

Whenever I find an artist, I always look through their entire catalogue, afraid that I missed something pivotal.

But I always end up coming back to the first album I heard by them. Even when I know it isn’t their best work, it still manages to be my favorite.

Case in point?

Alkaline Trio – Crimson
Social Distortion – White Light, White Heat, White Trash 
Rancid – Indestructible 
AFI – Sing the Sorrow
NOFX – The War on Errorism
Every Time I Die – The Big Dirty
New Found GlorySticks and Stones
The Black Keys – Magic Potion
Against Me! – Searching for a Former Clarity

Okay, I think I made it clear.

For some reason, there’s a thrill and memory associated with when you fell in love with an artist. Even if, in your heart, you know it isn’t their best work, the first album you hear will always shine brightest. Some of my best memories were made listening to these cds. I still remember being in middle school and buying, White Light, White Heat, White Trash at FYE and listening to it on my Walkman in the car on the way home. I was so excited to hear those songs, and to find a new sound that I’d never known – a sound that no one around me in suburban Indiana had known.

That sparked my love of Social Distortion, who were my favorite band for years. I even remember going to see them in concert and teachers from my high school were at the show. We had more in common than we’d initially realized, and even though they were my instructors, I considered them friends.

I can pinpoint the moment I heard the opening riff to “No Son of Mine,” from Every Time I Die’s The Big Dirty. The same car trip that inspired my love of ETID fueled my passion for Against Me!. I was on a trip to Bloomington to suss out IU with some friends, and they played Searching for a Former Clarity. “Miami” stuck with me. I can remember subsequently going into Shake It Records to buy copies of both albums, and being ridiculously excited.

A friend burnt Indestructible for me in high school. In all reality, she was a bully that I didn’t really like, but I befriended her to avoid conflict. I asked her to burn cd’s for me that I didn’t have the money to buy. At the time, Tim Armstrong’s voice was worth putting up with her. I listened to that album on repeat while mowing the lawn at home. It was the soundtrack to many a summer sunburn.

As I tried to distance myself from the bully girl, I found myself going to the local library to get albums and burning them to my computer. That’s where I scrounged up Magic Potion and countless others. Surely the librarians knew that when I checked out STACKS of cds, I wasn’t just taking them home to listen to. But they never said anything.

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It’s not like all this pirating was for nefarious reasons. I was a high school kid who was sonically starved and something had to feed that addiction. At least I was nerdy enough to hang out in the library instead of other places.

More than any other, I remember my first New Found Glory album. I’d been bullied A LOT by a jock in middle school. He would harass me virtually every day, and the teacher didn’t do anything. I was angry, hurt and felt violated. My mom knew about it, so when we went to Bigg’s one evening, she bought me Sticks and Stones. She gently asked me if I liked it when I took my headphones off briefly in the car.

Even though I was a shitty, bratty, angry teenager, I appreciated her act of support. She felt helpless watching her daughter be picked on. But she knew what made me feel better and wanted to supply that to me, even if she didn’t fully understand.

The main thing that ties all of these albums together is that they served as different milestones for me. Whether I’m embarrassed to admit that I like those artists or not, I can’t forget the effect that the music had on me. It served as my therapist, my solace, my friend, my ammunition.

I think it’s incredibly important to pay homage to the albums that inspire us and get us through rough spots. There’s no reason to feel sheepish when an artist or album resonates with you. That means there’s a chord to be struck, and not everyone has that depth or emotional awareness.