One year ago today an album was released. This album had an impact on me in a way that I never expected. And the band who is responsible for this album… they made an even bigger impact on me than they already had.
One year ago today, October 23, 2015, 5 Seconds of Summer released their sophomore album, Sounds Good Feels Good.
You know the meme “my taste in music ranges from ‘Oh my God you have to hear this!’ to ‘I know… please don’t judge me.”? That’s my iTunes library. I have everything from classic rock to Broadway, and punk rock to classical. According to my iTunes, I have 1,163 albums (some of those are not complete so that number is probably much smaller). Of all the albums in my library, ONLY ONE, has impacted me in a way that no other album ever has. If you guessed it wasSounds Good Feels Good… you would be correct.
I can say with complete honesty that SGFG is the first album in which I have ever related to every single track in some way. It is also the first album that has had a deep, emotional impact on me. I mean, I did ugly cry listening to the album on the 45 minute (thank you St. Paul traffic) drive into to work one year ago today. How I managed to pull myself together by the time I walked into my office that morning I have no idea. I certainly earned a lot of questioning looks from my co-workers, and I definitely was not my usual self that day.
When I think about it, I realize that I never connected to music in high school and my early college years the way I connect to music now. That’s not to say that I didn’t when I was younger, because I did. There were a lot of songs that got me through some rough times. But looking back, I can see my connection with songs and music wasn’t nearly as deep as it is now. I attribute that to the fact that I needed to time to grow up and experience life a bit more. After all, how can you truly relate to songs that talk about relationships, socials issues, and other life experiences when you haven’t experienced them yourself? The more I listened to SGFG, the more I found myself saying, “Where the hell was this album 15-16 years ago when I was in high school?!” But as much as I wish SGFG had existed then, I’m so grateful that it exists now.
Take a short side trip with me. It all comes back to SGFG, I promise.
For 23 years, dance was my life. I started dancing when I was 5 years old when my mom asked me if I wanted to try ballet and tap. By the time I was 12, dance was no longer a recreational activity for me. I began to take my training very seriously as my dream was to become a professional ballet dancer with a company such as American Ballet Theatre or the Joffrey Ballet. I went from taking classes 3 days a week, 3-6 hours a day, to training/rehearsing 6 days a week, 6-12 hours a day. Those hours were even longer during tech/show weeks and show days. As I started studying other styles of dance, my dream shifted a bit and I wanted to be a professional dancer in a contemporary dance company. Unfortunately, the dream of dancing professionally in a company didn’t become a reality. Well, it kind of did as I danced semi-professionally with a small civic company in a small west Texas town. It just wasn’t the dream I’d dreamt of.
I can clearly remember when I realized that my ultimate dream of dancing professionally wasn’t going to happen the way I wanted it to. It was definitely a disappointment, but I decided to keep dancing and take any opportunity that came my way because I couldn’t give dance up that easily. And there really were some amazing things I got to do that I’m not sure I would have been able to do had the ultimate dream come true. Eventually, my body said “that’s enough”, and I knew it was time to make the decision all dancers dread. Making the decision to stop dancing and pursuing a new career path was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make. Dance was who I was. Dance was my escape. The dance studio and the stage were my home. They were the places where I could let go and be me; where I could freely express my thoughts and feelings through movement without worrying about being judged. Dance was a way of life. Dance shaped me to be the person I am today, and to go from dancing every day for 14 years of my life, to not dancing at all cold turkey was extremely difficult. It still is.
I shared that to say this: SGFG helped me come to a pretty big revelation if you will. It helped me realize that it’s okay to struggle with figuring out who I am all over again. It’s a long, difficult process to discover who you are in general. But to re-discover yourself after a big life/career change… that’s a whole new beast I wasn’t prepared for. But I think that can be said of anyone who has to face a major life/career change. Sounds Good Feels Good reminds me that I am not alone and that there are so many other people fighting right along beside me to discover who we are and fighting to find our place in this crazy world we live in.
5 Seconds of Summer through SGFG are constantly reminding me that it’s okay to be feeling the way I am. Which, if I’m honest, is totally and completely lost 98% of the time. 5SOS through SGFG are constantly reminding me to keep doing what I’m doing, to keep fighting, and to be patient (if you know me is quite a feat) because I will discover who I am again when the time is right. I have found more comfort in the reminders this band gives me through their music, and especially through SGFG, than I could have possibly imagined, and I’ll be forever grateful for that.
Luke, Michael, Ashton, and Calum:
No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to find the words that even begin to express the amount of gratitude I have for what you’ve given me through your music, and especially Sounds Good Feels Good. But I’m going to try.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for helping me come to the realizations that I have in the last year, and for always reminding me in some way that it’s okay to be feeling the way I am. It’s like I said earlier, I do wish SGFG had been around when I was in high school, but I am very, very, glad that it exists right now. It has helped me through so much in the last year and I know for damn sure I wouldn’t have coped as well as I have if not for this album.
Thank you for reminding me that I’m not alone in the struggle that I’m facing right now, and that one day, when the time is right, everything will fall into place. Thank you for using the platform you’ve been given to be, and give, a voice to me and so many who feel like they don’t have one. Thank you for writing an album full of songs that so many people can relate to. Thank you for writing songs and speaking up about real issues that many are hesitant to talk about. Thank you for inspiring me and thousands of others to not be afraid to share our own struggles. And in turn, thank you, for being courageous and sharing your own struggles with us.
Thank you for reminding me and so many others that it’s okay if we don’t always fit in, that’s it’s okay to be different and to stand out. And in turn, thank you for creating a space like The New Broken Scene where everyone belongs even when we feel like we don’t. Thank you for reminding us that no matter who we are, where we’re from, or where we’re at in life, we’re all struggling with our own battles and it’s okay to not be okay. Those reminders and the comfort they provide mean more than you can even imagine.
It will never be enough in my eyes, and I’ll never stop saying it:
Thank you for everything you’ve done and everything you still do. Not just for me, but for anyone who is a fan. And thank you for Sounds Good Feels Good, the album that became my safety pin.
Happy 1 Year of Sounds Good Feels Good!