Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Growing Up

This post, resurrecting the blog from death, is more of a response to this blog post by Patrick Stump than anything else, but if it's what brings the blog back, then it seems fitting.

Dear Patrick,

I've never written to a musician before, and I guess I'm not actually now. Hunting down an email address seems like too much of an invasion of privacy, even now when people's lives are spread across the internet for everyone to see. But your blog post struck me in a couple of important ways, and I thought you should hear from the other side.

Take This to Your Grave, From Under the Cork Tree, and Infinity on High hold important places in my musical collection. They mark specific points in my life, specific feelings. It's as though each of those albums can instantly bring me back to being sixteen, or driving too fast down the highway the summer after high school, or just wanting to scream my freshman year of college.

There's a sense of nostalgia that goes with those feelings, because I'm not sixteen anymore, and because I don't feel that way anymore. I'm nominally an adult now, with a college degree and bills to pay and a nine-to-five that makes sure I can pay my rent and eat more than ramen. I'm not that angry teenager who listened to those albums, and there's a weird pang of loss that goes with that. No matter how bad I felt at those times, I could relate so well to the music. I miss that connection to it.

You mentioned in your post that "I will never be the kid from Take This To Your Grave again." Well, I'll never be the kid who listened to Take This To Your Grave again. It's impossible for both of us, both you who made it and I who listened to it, to be the people that we were. And that's okay.

Because right now, I'm the adult who listens to Soul Punk. It's true that it will probably never hold the same weight in my heart as those other albums did, but only because I don't need the music now as much as I did then. But damn if that record hasn't been my driving album for months. It took two months for me to even eject it out of the CD player, because there is something so perfect, so spot on, and so fun about Soul Punk that mirrors where I am and what I'm feeling right now.

I saw you play at Great Scott in Allston, right outside of Boston, about ten months ago. I hadn't bought the record yet, knew the words to only one song, and ended up going to the show alone, but it was one of the most fun nights I'd had in a while. Looking back on what I wrote of that night, I'm so confused as to how you wound up here. My summary of your performance, taken straight out of that link, was "It's a little R&B, a little funk, but mostly just him pouring himself out through held notes and crazy guitars, drums and keys and dancing. He literally put everything he has into this music and it's like his heart is flooding out over the edges of the stage."

You need to find whatever it was that I saw, that the entire crowd saw that night and bring it back. It would be a complete and absolute shame for not just your talent but your obvious love of what you do to be stifled by people who will never be pleased. Would it be awful of me to direct you back to your own CD, to implore you to take some of your own lyrics to heart and just do what you want to do, what you love to do, no matter what anyone else says?

You grew up and stopped being the person you were when you made those records, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who has grown up and stopped being the person I was when I listened to them. And you making the music that makes you happy, making the music that you're feeling now, in some way makes it a little easier to admit that I'm not the person I was back then either.

I've never written to a musician before, because in a landscape of blog posts and emails and tweets it didn't seem like my thanks or praise or love of music would ever even be seen, never mind read. But maybe I should have, if only to counterbalance some of the hate. So here it is, possibly too late: I love Soul Punk, and it's obvious that you do too. Don't let go of that.

Alex

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