It’s Time To Figure Me Out – The Summer Set’s Best New Song

When you’re a kid, your dreams are endless as you’re told by adults that you can do anything.  When you become an adult, that constant push to dream is squashed by the reality of bills, trying to keep up with the “it” people, and viewing your friends lives through social media as it seems more glamorous than your own.  The Summer Set will be releasing their first album in more than three years.  For the run of their fourth full-length album (Stories For Monday) they have released a few singles with one of them being a song called “Figure Me Out.”  It’s a song about reflection.  Coming to an epiphany moment where you stop listening to everyone around you and you can finally see things clearly.  Getting to that moment is difficult, because it means you have hit rock bottom.  Rock bottom is where your thoughts truly fall into place, and it can come in more forms – financial, death, family disfunction, or job frustration; like a boiling point about to blow.  One of the lines in the song says:

“Son don’t stop chasing great, and keep pounding the pavement
So, I’d much rather die tryin’ to make something sacred than live as another YouTube sensation.”

As an adult you hope that the choices you make are eventually going to lead you where you want to be.  For the last ten years I have moved from city to city, job to job looking for something, but have never truly found it.  At this point I don’t know if I even remember what I’m looking for in this world.  Security.  Family.  Friends.  To make a difference at something I love.  To Change someone’s world for the better.  Maybe it’s a little of all of the above, but getting to the point in your life where your imprint is worth more than fortune or fame is something that not everyone achieves.  Another person passed away in my graduating high school class and it got me thinking that nothing is worth your time unless you’re happy.  I mean truly happy.  Not the facade that everyone sees via social media.

“I’m too pop for the punk kids, but I’m too punk for the pop kids
I don’t know just where I fit in cause when I open my mouth I know nobody’s listenin’
In the words of profit who still can’t turn a profit
Cause I don’t fit in with the in crowd, but I’m too Hollywood to go back to my hometown
Cause they think that I’m famous when I know I’m a fraud
Who got too fucked up on the finer things to remember who he forgot
But I believe there’s more to life than all my problems maybe there’s still hope for me to start again…”

We get caught up in what people think.  Their judgements become how we live our lives.  How many likes did you get on Instagram or Facebook?  Does it really matter if some likes the picture you shared, or asked you what’s wrong from your sad status.  Of course it matters, because humans thrive on acceptance.  Should it matter?  I don’t know.  I know that if a friend from the past reached out I would be there for whatever they needed.  I know if someone I barely know wants to talk something out with an unbiased party I would listen.  I know that life hands us situations that we question if we can handle and we are surprised every time we get through it.

Mark Twain once said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.”  So, why is it so difficult to find out that second most important question?  We dwell and fester on the past, the choices we make, but we never consider the fact that hindsight is 20/20.  That the other decision might not have been better.  Living in the now is important, but learning from the past can be a powerful tool.  Learn from yourself, learn from history, and learn from the people around you everyday.  Continue to do what is best for you and fight to make a difference in more than just your pocketbook or your next status update. And Brian Logan Dales know that this song has given me hope in one of the most frustrating moments in my life, and that it is time to figure me out.

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Songs & Artists that Shaped My High School Years

GreenDayIt’s kind of funny to look back at your high school self where the smallest thing like getting a major pimple breakout could seem like the end of the world.  The fact that you felt that your parents couldn’t possibly understand because seriously they were never a teenager in your eyes.  The dramatics of a teen are hilarious to me now and I was not really a dramatic teenager, at least I didn’t think I was in the sense that everything was constantly the end of the world.  I did well in school, I was in dance classes in all of my free time, and the little free time I had I would hangout with my friends.

As a teenager I was really into pop-punk and punk-rock music.  Granted I also listened to a lot of pop music as well, like Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, and N’SYNC, but I loved the thrashing beat of the drums, the bass pumping the song loudly into my stereo speakers, and the guitar solos the escalated the power of the song to a climax.  The early 2000s were a growth and comeback period for guitars.  You had artists like Blink 182, Simple Plan, Fountains of Wayne, Bowling for Soup, American Hi-Fi, and Green Day gain a huge following and popularity.

Simple Plan released their debut album in 2002-2003 called “No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls.”  Firstly, the title of this album is amazing.  It explains all the thoughts that you think as a teenager.  Life is just one big dodgeball game and you are constantly getting pelted without padding.  I don’t know if that was their intention of the title of the album, but I remember laughing at the album cover art when I got the album where it just showed one giant out of control frat party.  This album sold over a million albums in the United States and over four million copies worldwide.  These kind of numbers are unheard of today with the changing of music industry, but these numbers really shows the popularity of this group.  This pure pop-punk record had four major hits from it – I’m Just A Kid, I’d Do Anything, Addicted, and Perfect.  Perfect is one of my favorite songs off this album.  It reminds us that parents have such a huge impact on a kid’s life.  What you do.  What you say.  It means everything to a kid.  How you think of them.  Your reactions to their successes and their failures as well as their goals and aspirations.  Even as an adult their opinion still matters.

All you late 1990 and early 2000 babies I am about to educate you.  Fountains of Wayne and Bowling for Soup are not the same artist!  Stacy’s Mom – RIAA Gold Certified and Grammy Nominated song was done by Fountains of Wayne.  For all you parents yes this song is majorly inappropriate, but what song has ever actually been appropriate from the punk genre?  Bowling for Soup catalog includes songs like 1985, Almost, and my personal favorite Girls All The Bad Guys Want.  Girls All the Bad Guys Want was released in 2002 and was Grammy Nominated for Best Pop Performance by a Group or Duo.  It still remains a staple in my life when I need a good lets jump around on my bed like five year old, or reminiscing on the days my college roommate and I would totally lose it when this song came on while we were studying.

Who could forget artists like Blink 182 with their fast talking, guitar pushing, and totally crazy lyrics in songs like The Rock Show or when they got super serious in others like Stay Together for the Kids or I Miss You.  Blink 182 hit a high commercial success from 1999 to 2004 and even though they have broken up (yet again) I’ll never forget my teenage obsession I came to have with songs like What’s My Age Again or All The Small Things.

The band of my high school school career has to be and will always be Green Day.  Now all you punk rock fans out there are going to say they didn’t come out in the early 2000s.  Yes, I know they came out with their break through album back in 1994 and formed in the late 1980s, but they finally received the nod they deserved from the public and the music industry in 2004 when they released the rock opera that is “American Idiot.”  It debuted on the Billboard Charts at #1 and was the first of their albums to reach number one.  It won the 2005 Grammy for Best Rock Album and it went on to become a Broadway hit.  Their is no way I could pick just one song from that album as my favorite, but if I had to chose Jesus of Suburbia takes my vote.  It is a nine minute song set in five part story of someone’s life spinning out of control, lost in having nothing to believe in, to care about.  You can hit that wall whether you are a teenager or an adult.  It just becomes easier as an adult knowing that it is not the end of the world when something doesn’t make sense.  Your failure is not what defines you.  It is how you stand back up from the fall that helps you find the boulevard you chose to be on.

“To live and not to breathe
Is to die in tragedy
To run, to run away
To find what you believe”
-Green Day (Jesus of Suburbia)

Click here for the perfect early 2000 punk-rock playlist.

Band Spotlight – From Cherri Bomb to Hey Violet

I have been following Cherri Bomb since coming across their first album “This is the End of Control” in 2012.  They had an epic punk rock sound, power house voices, perfect harmonies, and professional musicianship at such a young age.  Granted I’m not a musican, but I know a great sound when I hear one, and their songs were an edge that I hadn’t heard by an all girl group since the Runways.  In the music world, at least of girl artists, you mostly hear pop music; needless to say it was refreshing to hear this band.

These teenage girls were signed to Disney’s Hollywood Records on June 2011, opened for mega rock bands such as the Foo Fighters and the Smashing Pumpkins, and played festivals all over the world such as South by Southwest, Leeds, Reading, Soundwave, and Vans Warp Tour.  The band was represented by Samantha Maloney.  Maloney, who is an American musician and drummer opened numerous doors for these girls.  Unfortunately once they broke up, their manager and label bowed out as well.

When Hi or Hey Records (run by the pop band 5 Seconds of Summer in conjunction with Capital Reocrds) announced their first band signing Hey Violet, I knew I reconginzed the three girls from Cherri Bomb.  Of course being a stalker of music I had to figure out what happen.  I don’t think the fans will ever know what went down with Julia Pierce, Miranda Miller, Nia Lovelis, and Rena Lovelis.  There are interviews saying that Pierce was forced out, and there are others saying that she left on her own.

Either way, there is now a new group Hey Violet that has formed and bringing in a new sound of pop punk instead of punk rock.  Formed in Los Angeles, California this new group of Miranda Miller, Nia Lovelis, Rena Lovelis, And Casey Moreta are currently opening for 5 Seconds of Summer on their world tour.  This is giving Hey Violet a fresh start.  I know many people are upset about this change and with Pierce no longer being a part of the group, but if you listen to their sound they are on longer Cherri Bomb.  Their first released song “This is Why” sounds more mainstream.  Even though there are still guitars flooding the air waves they sounds more like All Time Low then The Runaways or Pretty and Reckless.

For old fans it’s going to take sometime to adjust to the changes that have been made, Pierce leaving, new members, and sounds changes, and new fans are going have to accept the comparison being made.  Change is good, and needs to happen to continue to have success and move forward.  In this case, we can anticipate Pierce putting out new music and putting together a new band, as well as Hey Violet’s up and coming album as the first group signed to Hi or Hey Records.