Okay, first- hey! My name is Meredith, and this is my first time writing for Spinning Thoughts. Stoked to be here, stoked to chat music, just generally stoked. Let’s get it.
Today is my 22nd birthday and I decided I wanted to reflect on some of the music that has shaped me over the past two decades (gross, I feel old). I’ll keep it short and sweet, because we live in an age that favors not reading past 140 characters, but there is a lengthy playlist on my Spotify if you feel like listening. For now, here are five songs that changed my young adult life.
Kings of Leon – “Radioactive”
I’m starting with Kings of Leon because I grew up on this band. My mom always played their CD’s in her car, and I was a fan before I even knew it. When I became of age to start listening to my own music, in the days of the iPod Nano, I remember finding Kings of Leon right away. There were so many songs I already knew and loved, and I hadn’t even realized I was such a fan. My parents almost exclusively listened to 70s rock music when I was growing up, so it was an oddity that my mom listened to this band, but I thank her for it.
They continue to be one of my favorite bands, and I have yet to be disappointed by any of their releases. Great live performers, great lyrical work; overall, such a solid band.
5 Seconds of Summer – “Beside You”
Buckle up folks, I’m about to get SOFT. To start, I have this band to thank for a lot of things about me. Looking back on my teenage years, it truly feels like I grew up alongside them. This band sparked my interest in a career in the music industry, allowed me to meet friends I never would’ve otherwise known, and gave me experiences I’ll carry with me forever. I learned a lot in my time as a “fangirl”, and it’s something I think is discredited entirely too often.
This song, in particular, was the first 5SOS song I ever saved to my phone. It was the song that made me get into the band. I’ve just told you why the band is so important, so, you get it. The song means a lot.
With Confidence – “Drive”
Anyone who knows me is probably eye rolling so hard, because, OF COURSE I’m talking about With Confidence. How can I not? They have influenced me for the better part of almost four years now. This was the first song I ever heard by them; it came on one of those Spotify artist radio stations (you know, the annoying ones that come on when you forget to press the loop button on an album you love), in 2015. I can vividly remember hearing it for the first time and being like, “Woah, who is this, what is this, I love this.” Their EP, Distance, was very quickly added to my daily rotation.
Since then, I’ve gone through a lot of phases with music. Pop punk didn’t come into my life, truly, until 2017. With Confidence is an exception; their music always puts me in a better mood, it helps me now the same way it did in 2015. Watching them change and grow into the band they are today has been such a privilege and I’m so stoked to see what the future looks like for them.
State Champs – “Elevated”
I feel like if you are at all interested in pop punk, you’ve heard this song at least once. It’s a classic. It’s the epitome of pop punk culture. State Champs are a fan favorite across the board, and it’s not without good reason.
It feels only right to disclose that this song came into my life at one of the hardest times I’ve had in my adult life. I was dealing with some really heavy stuff, feeling extremely lost, and isolating myself became a habit I couldn’t stop; I was miserable. I started listening to this album after randomly stumbling across a State Champs interview on YouTube, and the lyrics were speaking to me in a way that no other songs had before. I felt like every line was written for me, like this guy in this band was in my head literally singing my thoughts. Needless to say, it was groundbreaking for me.
From that, I became obsessed with both of their albums (before Living Proof). This sent me into a world of new music that I never knew existed. I had always been a fan of bands like Panic! At the Disco, Fall Out Boy, Paramore; all of these iconic bands that were in this rebellious area of music. Despite that, I was missing out on this entire “grass roots” genre; I have State Champs to thank for introducing me to bands like Knuckle Puck, Neck Deep, Real Friends, and more.
Even more than all of that, State Champs were the band that signified my breakthrough. They were proof that I could be whatever I wanted to be, that I could work in music if I wanted to. And God, did I want to. Their music, what they are about, helped me come to terms with what I wanted out of my life, and I will never be able to accurately speak on how much that means to me.
Seaway – “Neurotic”
Listen, okay, I had to include Seaway. The past four songs have all represented a time in my life; Kings of Leon: childhood-early teens, 5 Seconds of Summer: my entire time being a teenager, With Confidence: end of high school-early college, State Champs: college. If your brain works in sections, like mine does, think of Seaway as the last year.
Since turning 21, I have grown a lot as a human being. I mean, I would hope that in anyone’s case there is at least a small amount of growth over the time span of a year. But for me, this year was a real learning curve. I’ve been forced to think about the role of music in my life and what it does for me; working in music can take the magic away pretty quickly. I started listening to Seaway, and it kind of dawned on me that I don’t have to take something away from everything I do. Music can just be enjoyed and not thought about too much. Their music is so groovy, and it makes you want to just dance and have fun with the people you love. I really love that, and I’ve treated it as almost a lesson on life. In a way, listening to Seaway has made me realize I need to chill. Going into 22, I’m going to lighten up. Life is beautiful and I’m going to enjoy it, damn it!
Well, we’ve reached the end of my first ever contribution to Spinning Thoughts. I am so happy to have gotten to share some artists/songs that mean a lot to me, with you. If you enjoyed, let me know! My socials are linked down below, and I am always in the mood to chat about music.
Before I sign off, I want to encourage you to love what you love, and love it loudly. Thanks for reading!