When I was in college I discovered Manchester Orchestra through Pandora. The first song that I ever heard from them was “I’ve Got Friends.” Andy Hull’s voice was sweet, but it had anger behind it. The lyrics were like poetry – I could relate, but I wasn’t always 100% sure of artist intent.
After delving into their catalogue, I went to Shake-It and bought the two albums they had out at the time: I’m Like a Virgin Losing a Child and Mean Everything to Nothing.
I have mixed emotions about what Manchester Orchestra means to me. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had severe depression. I would soak their music in – it was like a drug for my depression; it made me feel better, but sometimes it just made things worse. I remember screaming along to many of the songs, thoroughly upset, and unsure why.
I’d drive around Cincinnati at night listening to these albums, crossing the Daniel Carter Beard Bridge. During the day, I’d play them on repeat in my car, and even the sunny summer days are cloudy and dark in my memory. I was floating through my life, existing, but detached from myself.
“I’ve Got Friends,” was ironic to me at the time. I did have friends, but my depression made it hard for me to appreciate them, or feel their impact – to feel anything. My life was a jumble, and I just couldn’t figure out how to unknot it.
Now, I can easily say that I’m surrounded by SO many fantastic people that I’m lucky to know. I’m able to see them, feel their support, and acknowledge when it’s my depression talking and not reality.
For me, Manchester Orchestra was that weird place between being asleep and awake. I knew that something wasn’t quite right – something didn’t add up. They helped me get through that time, but not in a wholly healthy way. Maybe someday, now that I know these things, I’ll be able to dig into Cope and Hope. We’ll see.
If you or someone you know or love is experiencing depression, please seek a local mental health professional – I promise it’s worth it. If the situation is dire, please call 1-800-273-8255. This hotline is available 24/7.