As It Is have always been about accepting oneself and living through the dark episodes in one’s life. I WENT TO HELL AND BACK, the new album from As It Is, set to drop February 4, 2022 via Fearless Records, tailors to this message and gives a voice to those who deal with mental illness. The album stands on its own but continues to push the message that even in the wake of issues, everything will be okay.
The effort is an emotional rollercoaster starting off with “IDGAF,” to the climax of the album with “I’M SICK AND TIRED” and ending with the title track “I WENT TO HELL AND BACK.” The first is a heavily emotional song about not caring about dying, to the heavier song of being tired about the world changing when one feels as if they’re not, and then wrapping up the experience with a soft ballad that ties the whole album together. Every story needs an introduction, climax and resolution and I WENT TO HELL AND BACK portrayed that with these three songs. The title track is a quiet ballad about going through it all and still wanting to live, with the hopes of everything being okay, summing the story and album up in a way that no matter what happens during the dark days, there’s still hope at the end of the tunnel.
“I’d Rather Die” is the most relatable song on the album, because who really wants to take their own advice. The chorus is catchy and upbeat, but the lyrics hold a deeper meaning. Vocalist Patty Walters starts with the lyric, “Hey, long time no sleep/I swear I’ve been awake all week.” It reminds me of when there’s a lot on my mind, I just can’t sleep and fixate on whatever problem I’m trying to figure out. Coming into the new year I still slip into routines, because it’s easier than actually taking a risk, which this song is about. Taking one’s advice is like taking the risk. Overcoming that initial fear is what makes things get better and Walters speaks to that throughout the song.
“I MISS 2003” is an anthem. Being about a year that was at the peak of punk culture, the song makes a lot of references to the bands that were big at the time, slipping in some subtle song titles to create quite the unique track. It may have a date tied to it, but it’s all about reminiscing the good times. “I MISS 2003” is one of my favorites from the effort, not because I was a teenager in 2003 (I was far from it) but it reminds me of how it was in high school with my small group of friends, living life to the fullest even when life got tough.
“I MISS 2003” is the one song I scream at the top of my lungs driving to work. The line that always gets me is, “I drive through every red light just so I can press rewind/we’ll go back in time.” Life gets mundane sometimes, and reliving the past is helpful, especially the good times. The vocals, lyrics and instrumentation blend together to create this sense of nostalgia that I thoroughly enjoy. It’s reminiscent of past punk songs and a nice homage to what came before.
I WENT TO HELL AND BACK puts into words what some may have felt throughout the last two years of the pandemic. Even if it wasn’t intended to be as such, it goes through every emotion that I was dealing with at such a harrowing time.
I WENT TO HELL AND BACK further proves why people should listen and care about As It Is. They’re going places and truly are a band that anyone can listen to, whether you want to relive your “emo” phase or enjoy a good lyrical song. They’re the band to listen to and I WENT TO HELL AND BACK is the album to really pay attention to.