How is it already 2020? Its already a week into the new year, is it too late to post a reflection of the last decade? I don't know, I don't care. I started this in 2019 for that's worth, I just solidly procrastinated and am going to continue anyway. I was a little bit nervous to share this, because its not just about the music. Its about life, and its all real. A good handful of people spoke up on the Facebook page and said yes they would like to hear about life and the music that's impacted me, so here I am. I hope you guys enjoy, and please feel free to share some of the stuff that's impacted you over the last ten years. Or even just year, if you would like. Without further a due, here goes nothing.
Time really flies. I swear it was just 2012, what happened? My mom always said time starts flying as you get older, and as a kid I solidly did not believe her. Thought she was just being dramatic or something. It always drug by when I was little, and I couldn't wait to grow up and be an adult. What the hell did I sign up for? Excuse me, this is not what was advertised at all, and I would like a refund. Thank you.
I'm joking, I swear. Except for the time flying thing, that was dead serious. So much has happened in the last decade, and I have to say this one helped define who I am. This was the first decade of my adult life, seeing as I turned eighteen in 2011. Hell, it was probably 2008 or so when I started really getting into rock and metal, which obviously makes a massive difference. I'm sure I don't even have to explain that one, given where you're reading this.
A friend of mine, whom I actually met through music, and then ended up bonding over music journalism with inspired this post. Her name is Hali Neal, and she made an article for her music journalism platform, When Music Speaks, reminiscing on her favorite albums of the decade. She sent me a draft of it to look over, so I read a slightly different version than what you will see when you go to her site. Which you should totally do, by clicking here.
I asked her if I was allowed to steal her idea, and she said I was, so here we are! I wanted to take the time to reflect, and talk about some of my favorite albums from the past ten years as well. Because honestly, I could instantly think of a couple I wanted to include, and for very personal reasons. Now some of this, I was a little bit uneasy to share publicly, out of fears of being judged but you know what? I think I want to go into 2020 with less fear, and everyone has something in their life that they've been troubled by, so fuck it. Get comfortable, this is going to be a long, reflective road.
First though, we have to rewind to just before the decade started. Back to 2009, when I was sixteen, and just truly beginning to shift into loving rock music. I had been looking into some of it for a while, but only a year or two I would say. At the time, I solidly remember my favorite bands were the Jonas Brothers, All Time Low, Three Days Grace, and Bullet For My Valentine, and I started going to a church youth group, not for religious reasons at all, but just to make friends.
Sure enough, I did make friends, some of which I am still friends with to this day. Actually met a couple of my best friends there. One actually introduced me to the other, and they both helped fill the mold I had already opened. They both highly encouraged the music, and included me with their other interests, such as some movies and YouTube, which made all the difference. It was actually one of them introducing me to Bryan Stars Interviews that lead me to wanting to do journalism properly in the first place. I actually was already low key dabbling with it at the time, but it was very subtly and I hadn't fully put two and two together at that point.
It mostly started in 2010 when I started the Facebook page that is now for Immortal Music. Originally, it was its own stand alone place for me to share my love of music with complete strangers called Music= Life. I actually started it at a time in my life when I felt very alone, and I guess I just needed the outlet, but it obviously turned into a lot more. At the time, I don't even think I really bothered to try to define myself. Looking back it it, I wasn't that different than I am now, except I think I was more of a doormat and was just trying to make something of myself. At that point in my life, I wanted to be a graphic and web designer, and my only real identifiers were a Disney loving, Jonas Brothers obsessed girl. I really don't think there was much else to me, looking back at it.
It was actually this time in my life that brings me to the first album I want to talk about, which was Life Starts Now by Three Days Grace. This was the first TDG to come out after I was a fan of them. I had known about them for most of their career, but didn't really get into them until sometime between when One-X came out and this one. At the time this album came out, I was feeling completely hurt by people. I was homeschooled and at that particular time, felt like a complete outcast from my entire group. This album was pretty much brand new at the time, and at some point I realized if you rearranged the track listing, it pretty much walked you through the process of putting people behind you. Or maybe that was just me being emo as shit, I don't really know.
Either way, that album is still one of my go to albums when I'm feeling moody, or need to calm down. old Three Days Grace will forever hold a special place in my heart. My favorite songs on the album are, "Life Starts Now", "Break" and "Someone Who Cares."
Fast forward a couple years, and honestly life was pretty good. I started properly doing journalism in 2011, and I would say 2012 was the biggest year for me, journalism wise. Ironically, when I think of this time, there actually wasn't a stand out album immediately. I think I was listening to so much good music that it took a moment to really pin point any albums. I have more memories from events and concerts than I do specific albums.
I knew I wanted to give an honorable mention somewhere to Shinedown, and honestly I was a bit torn on what album to give a mention to. I love pretty much all of their work, and they've had three wonderful albums this decade. The first of the decade was Amaryllis, which came out in 2012, and does house one of my favorite songs from them. That one is "Unity" and if you haven't heard it, you absolutely should. It embodies the feeling you get during a concert, where you just feel whole and everything's okay.
Shinedown has done so much for me this decade, and I wish I could have known when I discovered them just how special they would be to me. I'm jumping around a bit with my timelines here, but it all goes together, so whatever, it still works. I hold them very close to my heart for many reasons, but primarily because if it weren't for them, I solidly believe Immortal Music would not have gotten as far as it has. In 2014, their guitarist Zach Myers did an incredible acoustic show with his best friend Justin Moore. They had absolutely no set list, no time limit, just played whatever they wanted. It was just two friends sharing the love of music, and it was seriously one of the best things I've ever seen. That night, I also interviewed Zach and Justin, and Zach told me he didn't particularly like doing interviews but said yes because he liked how I asked. I also realized the next morning, that was sheer luck. I thought I had emailed his manager, but had never heard back. I asked him in person and he said he thought there was something he forgot to answer to, so go ahead. Yeahhhh I never sent the email. In fact, its still in my drafts to this day, despite being almost six years ago. I never plan on deleting it either, just because I find it slightly hilarious.
But then on top of that wonderful experience, the next day I posted a recap of the entire night, and Shinedown actually shared it. That caused me to get about triple the daily views for a few days, and it stayed around until I stopped posting as frequently. If I ever get a chance to personally thank them, I will. They have no idea how much they've helped me, and I know usually its lyrically. They have so many fantastic songs, and they are one I turn to when I need a distraction or comfort, but that's the biggest thing they've done for me. Also, random fun fact. In the commentary video for "Asking For It", I'm positive Zach is talking about me, because he mentioned I question I asked that was uncommon. Nobody can convince me otherwise.
Back tracking again, just to 2013 really quick. That was a rather hard year, and I admit, I was nearly completely inactive on the website that year. That year we lost my dog, my childhood home and my great grandma. I don't remember actively turning to much that year, but I do remember listening to Sempiternal from Bring Me The Horizon a good handful, as well as Ungrateful by Escape The Fate.
Sempiternal was one I was a little late to, it had been out five or six months before I gave it a shot. The reason being, I didn't like BMTH before that album. Lyrically I liked them, but sound wise, I couldn't stand it. So when I heard some of the hype with Sempiternal and how different it was from anything they had ever done, due to Oli's vocal injuries and rehabilitation from his addiction, I got curious.
And oh my god, did that end up getting put on repeat for months. Same thing happened when That's The Spirit came out, three years later. We'll get to that in a bit though. My favorite albums from Sempiternal are, "Go To Hell For Heaven's Sake", "Antivist", and "Can You Feel My Heart?"
As for Ungrateful, I just listen to all of ETF's stuff. They've been toward the top of my radar since right around the time Ronnie Radke went to jail and Craig Mabbitt joined. So whenever they have a new album, I tend to listen to it right away. That album is arguably one of their best, and I find myself turning on a lot of the songs often. My absolute favorites are "You're Insane" and "Ungrateful" though. I also had a phase for a while where "Live Fast and Die Beautiful" was my favorite, and while I still like it, I have absolutely no idea why it was my favorite at one point in time. Really can't explain that one to anyone, I just really liked it.
Skipping ahead once again to 2016, which if I'm honest, was probably the hardest year of my life. This is also the year I've been slightly afraid to talk about, just due to some sensitive things that happened that year. But they deeply effected me, and are things I think of basically daily, and some music really did help me get through it all.
In the summer of 2016, I broke up with my boyfriend of a year, as well as did my last interview. All in the same day, I might add. That was with Lacey Strum, formerly of Flyleaf, and if I'm honest, events that happened not long after that, kind of overshadowed it. The only thing I remember really from that interview is getting on the bus, her standing up to introduce herself to me, and then me realizing she was shorter than me. Well, and her offering me pickles out of the jar she was eating, to which I said yes because I too love pickles.
About a month and a half, two months later, I got into a relationship with someone I now see saw an opportunity and took advantage of my vulnerable situation. I didn't see it at the time, but hindsight is 20/20. Fitting considering the new year, isn't it? I actually smirked at that as I wrote it, but this is where things get serious, so moving on.
Not too long after that, I got pregnant.
It completely blind-sighted me, mostly because I always thought if that was to happen, I would be happy about it. Scared sure, but I've always loved babies and little kids, I've always said I wanted my own. But something didn't feel right, some gut feeling was practically screaming that this was wrong. I tried to get excited, even bought some baby stuff in hopes that maybe bringing it more to reality would make me more excited. But it didn't. I still tried to tell myself it was fine, it was just new and scary, and I would end up loving them. The father was extremely excited, as he thought he couldn't have kids at all, so he tried to keep my excitement up some.
Then one evening, we went to a restaurant, and I got a call from my best friend who lives out of state. By some force of nature, she had also found out she was pregnant, not long after me. She was surprisingly rather excited about the idea, and we both joked that we clearly couldn't do anything on our own. But this call wasn't a good one. She stepped away from celebrating her marriage, and asked if I could talk to her for a second. She sounded really upset, and of course I said yes. And I will never forget what she said. "We're pretty sure I'm having a miscarriage." I instantly started crying, I felt horrible because deep down I knew how I felt, and she had been so happy to be in the same situation.
We didn't talk for long, but as soon as I hung up, my boyfriend asked what was wrong. It was then I finally admitted to myself and to him how I really felt. The words that slipped out of my mouth were, "Why is it her and not me?"
That started a lot of things. We left the restaurant, and he solidly tried to tell me he would just keep the baby and I wouldn't have to be involved at all. I couldn't do it, I didn't want some child being out in the world knowing their mother didn't want them. There's too many kids in this world already that have to deal with that, and I didn't want that. You guys see where this is going, don't you?
I had horrible cramps every single day, and I still solidly think I more than likely would have miscarried anyway, just due to the pains I was having. On November 17, 2016, I had an abortion, and I don't regret it one bit, but I do think about it every single day. He didn't come with, and at the time, that really hurt, but looking back at it, I don't blame him for not wanting to be there. He was just as hurt as I was, just in different ways, and I have no doubt he thinks about it most days too.
I was the only woman there that didn't have their significant other there supporting them, instead I had my mom, and the Planned Parenthood staff was incredible. They all were so sweet, open and comforting, and there was one lady in particular I couldn't be more grateful to. When I went back to the room, they told me there was a lady, who's name I unfortunately do not remember at all, that would be in to check on me before the doctor showed up. She came in, asked how I was feeling, and volunteered to sit with me and hold my hand. I solidly do not think I could have gone through with it without her. I had my iPod playing, and I do remember it was a playlist of nothing but Three Days Grace and Shinedown, but I don't remember what songs played in the midst of it, and the whole experience was over in maybe four minutes. I remember the feeling all too well, and I will not describe it for you, but this woman held my hand tight and talked to me about the Lion King Broadway show. I have "Hakuna Matata" tattooed on my arm, she saw that and latched on, just started telling me how beautiful it was live.
I saw the mini one they have at Animal Kingdom a few months later, and have seen it two more times since then, and I solidly admit, I've remembered that conversation and I have teared up every time.
After it was all over, I was in a lot of pain, and have never actually been fully the same since. I found myself turning to music a lot again, and Disney movies. I had some good friends around that helped a lot too. But this isn't about all that, and I admit, I was terrified to put any of that out there. Hell, a couple of the friends that helped me through that time, probably just heard me admit that was what I did for the first time. I told a lot of people it was a miscarriage, just out of fear of being judged. But it is part of my life, and it shouldn't be such a stigma. People shouldn't be afraid to talk about things that have really affected them.
I realized while I was clarifying the years certain albums came out that one I was listening to a ton around this time, came out right in the midst of it all. Lifelines by I Prevail was on repeat for me, along with That's the Spirit through all of this. I also remember listening to "Cry" by The Used a lot, but not the rest of the album a ton. I think that was just out of anger, and trying to fight the tears.Also really liked Melanie Martinez' debut album, which I know was fairly new in 2016. That was a weird one for me to really get into, as I don't particularly like modern pop or female singers much. For some reason I did though, and "Mad Hatter" was a staple song for a very long time. That probably was a bit random to mention here, but it was definitely something I listened to a lot at the time. It didn't really have any emotional depth for me personally, I just liked it. I'm sure those weren't the only things I turned to at the time, but that's primarily all I'm remembering.
There's on a few more albums I really want to give mentions to, and they're not as situational. They're just genuinely really good albums. Those are Disease by Beartooth and Trauma by I Prevail. I don't really have a ton of reasons for those, except they're incredible albums.
If I'm honest, this is the only Beartooth album I like in full. There's a few other songs here and there I like from their previous albums, but this one hit on a different level for me. I can't really put my finger on it, and I actually am surprised I can still listen to them. I was really hooked on "Afterall" and "Believe" in a time where I was out on my own. Every time I listen to "Afterall" I remember walking to the bus stop to go just about anywhere from my house. It was stuck in my head for a couple months, so every time I would go to leave the house, it would be playing. For a little while, that memory, along with a few others connected to the song stung but it somehow never ruined the song for me.
As for the Trauma album, it hit on a whole new level for me, and I got to see them live last year. That was sincerely one of the most therapeutic times of my life ever. It was the first time I had ever gone to a show where I had nothing on me. I didn't even have my phone on me for their performance, I just was standing on the stairs of the pit, screaming my heart out. It unlocked something for me, and I've been completely hooked on "Bow Down" ever since. I already loved it, already loved the whole album, though it was fairly new at the time. This show as back in August, and I thought I wrote about it but I didn't apparently. That whole album is just insanely good to me, like I truly don't think I've felt so attached to an album in years. I can't even pick favorites because I think they're all my favorites. If I really think about it, I think I find myself turning on "Bow Down", "Hurricane" and "Rise Above It" the most.
"Bow Down" is honestly the opposite of my personality. Its strong, its powerful, a person like that takes no shit. Its got the kind of energy I would like to have more of. If you know me, I've said for years that "Scars" by Papa Roach is my favorite song, because it defines me. My weakness is that I care too much, so for this to also be one of my favorite songs is weird. I fully admit that, they can't be more different. That was just a weird realization I had while writing this, but for real though, one is about caring too much and being there for someone who is barely doing anything for themselves even, and the other is straight up taking no shit.
Though I guess that's not too weird, because in the end of "Scars" even, he still walks away. He stops being everyone's doormat, so I guess in a way, that's where I'm at too. They do kind of go hand in hand. Sometimes you have to care far too much in order to get to the point of doing things for yourself and taking less shit. Don't you love it when you get all deep with yourself when its not even your intent?
Well, its 2020 now, and this year, I want to do more of what makes me happy. I want to get back to my love of music, and I want the confidence I feel like I lost over the years. I'm already working on bringing the love of music back, I've been listening to it just for fun again, I'm back hanging out with my musician friends and going to local shows again. I'm practicing my photography and just trying to do more for myself. Its not a new years resolution, it was something I started probably last summer, mentally anyway.
Hopefully I have you guys along for the ride, for the fun and the love of music. Thank you so much for being there for the last almost ten years. Please let me know some of the stand out stuff in your life, music included, and here's to another ten years. Thank you so much for your support, I honestly would have deleted this if it weren't for so many of you speaking up with interest.
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