Last night during the latest broadcast of Applecore (10pm-12am, Saturday nights on gwradio.com!), I played a couple of tracks that I probably shouldn’t have said were even on my iTunes. After opening with the most obnoxious Attack Attack! track that I could find, I proceeded to stick a 3-song block in the middle of my playlist of embarrassing flashback songs. I won’t lie and say that I have the greatest music taste, or the most diverse music taste. My show is representative of a lot of what I listen to- a lot of metalcore, some of it generic-sounding. But I think it’s fair enough that I’ve come a lot way since my days of Hawthorne Heights.
To be honest, the first time I heard “Ohio is for Lovers”, I was 13. I was in middle school and moving away from my childhood home. At that age, you’re angry enough dealing with the transition to high school, pubertal changes, etc… While lyrics such as “cut my wrist and black my eyes, so I can fall asleep tonight or die” are neither original nor poetic, it is exactly the kind of lyric that appealed to early early teenage angst.
My rationalization is that bands like Hawthorne Heights, and the others I played last night (Senses Fail, Silverstein) became the voice of a generation of music-listeners who were just as hurt and upset as I was. They became the soundtrack to our anger and our angst, and they didn’t need to be especially talented. Those cliche lyrics and generic chord progressions spoke to us back then, and were a comfort when we thought no one else was listening.
Without these bands, Applecore would not exist. There, I said it. I forfeit my credibility when I say that, but it’s true. Bands that would be characterized as “emo” or “screamo” helped me back the transition from alternative rock to hardcore and metal. They were an important stepping stone into the realm of harder music, showing me the ways that scream vocals can be utilized to express frustration, aggression, anger.
For me, music has always been about how the sounds made me feel. There is music that makes me nauseated, music that makes me inspired, and music that just leaves me dumbfounded by how awesome that just was. When I was 13, Hawthorne Heights and the like made me feel like someone out there was listening and understood what I was going through. I wasn’t alone. And I think that’s the way it’s supposed to be, really.
And come on, you probably listened to them too.