by Zack Zarrillo
I know I’m not “old,” at least not like my fellow podcast co-hosts Evan and Jesse on our respective shows, or like my POZ teammates, Adrienne and Jesse (Richman) are old. But at the same time, I’d say I’ve had my most formative years in life already. I’m not saying my life won’t see major changes within the coming years and of course future decades, but you know, I’m probably not going to go through puberty again or go back to high school.
So what does any of that have to do with music?
Those formative years were the years music truly changed my life and shaped my future direction. I imagine that holds up for you as well, whether you’re in high school now or are in your mid–20s. Thinking back…
* As we’ve talked about to death, blink–182, Sum 41, and New Found Glory opened up my musical world in middle school
* Taking Back Sunday and Brand New smacked me upside the head at the start of high school and told me you could harbor dark emotion
* Death Cab For Cutie, Manchester Orchestra, and Bon Iver informed me that music could be pretty, sad, and beautiful as I dived into late-teenagehood.
Somewhere in between and throughout those years of middle and high school, music moved me. You know this. It did the same to you. It was there when you fell in love and had your heart broken. It was there for you in a car or subway ride to a show. That time your parents pissed you off for a reason you have no chance of remembering right now. It was there to shape those formative moments. Where is it now?
Before graduating high school, the last album to truly hit me was Mansions’ Dig Up The Dead. I was a senior, and it wrecked me. Since being 17, I’ve fallen in love with many albums. However, how many of those albums that I’ve fallen in love with have moved me in a “special” way? If I really sit down and think about it, The Hotelier’s Home Like NoPlace Is There stopped me in my tracks. I was going through a major life event though.
Are we still able to have our lives moved by new music after our formative years? That’s the question I’m getting at. I think if we go through major life events like marriage/divorce, birth/death, love/lost that the answer is ultimately yes. But what about in between those moments?
In a way, our teenage years are not as grand as going through the process of getting married or burying a parent, but every single day feels like it’s the start or end of a world. And in that, I think music can have its way with us each day.
I wonder if a loved one hadn’t passed if I would consider Home Like NoPlace Is There one of the best albums I’ve ever heard at 20 years old. If I was 16, I think the album would’ve had its effect on me regardless.
What do you think?
Above is a conversation Evan and I had on Simpler Sound where we dug deeper into the above. I hope you’ll listen and add in your thoughts.
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I feel like I should mention that there may be wisdom in being old like some of my colleagues are. For example, I had an hour long “life talk” with Adrienne today about the “right” apartment to rent after college and how to make extra dinner for tomorrow’s lunch. That might sound boring to you, random reader, but shit, who knew a wok could be so handy?! ↩
I just got off a redeye flight where I bought Swedish Fish to eat, only had two, and then accidentally left the rest of the bag on the plane. So clearly, I’ve had copious amounts of times to consider lost love and impulses. ↩
You can subscribe to Simpler Sound here. ↩