If music tells you a lot about a person, get ready to learn a lot about me – here are five bands that have shaped my life and gotten me through the ups and downs of life.
If you appreciate music, are looking for some new tunes to check out, or just like people being reflective, give this one a read.
Everyone’s being super reflective at the moment. Being an INFJ super reflective type at most times, I’ve definitely appreciated seeing people taking stock and sharing about themselves in a more intimate fashion. I love hearing people’s dreams and their life journeys and so loving to see the innermost machinations of people’s hearts and minds being put to writing at a time when the world needs it most. Good job, world.
One thing I’ve seen people sharing more of is their favourite music. Whether people are doing the 10 Album Facebook Challenge or some variant on it, I’ve been seeing a lot of people sharing guilty pleasures or true treasures that have meant a lot to them. I’ve done something in a similar vein before by talking about songs that have really spoken to me, although it was a number of years ago now. And I haven’t really talked about full bands before.
In the book Love and War, John and Stasi Eldredge encourage couples to find out each other’s favourite movie scenes. They highlight that a person’s favourite scenes actually reveal a lot about a person’s emotions, dreams, hopes and desires. I think music is equally as revealing and equally as important.
And so in the vein of being super reflect I submit to you 5 bands that have shaped my life, in not necessarily favourite order, with a word summarising what they’ve meant to me over the years.
Relient K – Progression
In truth it was Relient K’s latest album Live that got me thinking of writing this blog, featuring live versions of a large number of songs they’ve done over the last 20 years. It was like revisiting old friends and taking a time machine around different times of my life.
I think one of the most striking things about Relient K even to this day is the poignancy of the words of their music. Sharp, cutting, and absolutely straight to the truth, they have almost no duds in their repertoire. They started as a punk rock indie-ish band into rock vibes into more of a pop sound today – see my review of their latest non-cover album Air For Free.
That said, they also feature a whole heap of acoustic ballads and piano driven melancholy, even featuring a number of songs that masterfully mix the two (eg. Life After Death and Taxes, When I Go Down, the epic 9-11 minute journey of Deathbed).
I can point to different points of my life and certain Relient K albums were there, all helping me progress through life and overcome things that I needed to get over or properly process. Whether it was the journey of love and processing the end of it (the album Forget and Not Slow Down is still a masterpiece journey for anyone looking to get over something), the hope of something new or more in Mmhmm, Air for Free or Five Score and Seven Years Ago, or just the general fun of their Karaoke and nonsense songs, Relient K has been there when moving me forward through life.
Oh yeah, and best Christmas album ever with I Celebrate The Day being the best Christmas song ever.
Jeremy Camp – Perseverance
I was very fortunate to be able to see Jeremy Camp live a number of years ago when he came to a small hall in Brisbane and did a huge set of his songs. Recently featured in the movie I Still Believe, Jeremy has been writing songs for ages that made it big with his grungy rock voice and tones that can also absolutely nail ballads.
In particular I think of one album from Jeremy that helped me with the strength to persevere through a time in my life where lots of people were getting sick and some friends I had relied on had started falling away into their own things and I felt really alone. I remember this album reminded me so profoundly about the power of continuing in faith even when we can’t see. This was the album Live and Unplugged where he sings a number of songs with his wife Adie and talks through how all the songs came to be, including about the loss of his first wife Melissa and how he found the strength and the answers to keep going.
Highly recommended finding the DVD or the video online, although all the songs still speak to me today.
Owl City/Sky Sailing – Journey
Here’s a weird one. I actually discovered Owl City because Matt Thiessen from Relient K was listed as a guest vocalist and also helped produce a number of his songs. Owl City has since become fairly mainstream although in recent years they’ve probably fallen back into some obscurity, with most people knowing and still playing Fireflies, Good Time and My Everything ad nausea.
Owl City is a whole lot of fun. And I think joy in the journey is a key to flourishing in life. It’s pretty hard to keep a frown on your face during an Owl City song unless it’s one of the more reflective numbers like Silhouette. A lot of the songs are a celebration of life or love, like On The Wing, Saltwater Room, or Madeleine Island. I also love the more reflective and unashamedly faith oriented tracks like Be Brave.
But when I think of the theme of journey in my life I think of Adam Young’s alternate project, Sky Sailing. Sky Sailing is Owl City with an acoustic guitar and a piano instead of the typical electronica. The songs aren’t super poignant necessarily to me, but I remember the journey towards choosing joy that this album/project represents to me. It marked a time where I was really growing up and maturing into who I wanted to be and moving beyond some complacent or depressing attitudes.
Joy is great strength, and Owl City and Sky Sailing are there for you to remind you of all the reasons you have to celebrate.
Deas Vail – Purpose
Okay kids, now we’re definitely entering very clear Top 2 territory. This one and the next one are very clearly at the top for me.
Deas Vail. Man. Even just hearing the name of the band stirs up something inside of me. They really helped locked in a strong sense of purpose for me in my life. I’ve only ever met one other person who actually knows Deas Vail and it was one of our most exciting discoveries to find someone else to know the greatness of this very indie band with a lead singer with a ridiculously high falsetto.
But this band in a similar vein to Relient K has some extremely strong and poignant lyrics. Their music is also masterfully crafted to carry you on the same journey, such as the epic tones of Atlantis, the slow waltz of Dance In Perfect Time, or the restorating tones of Balance. They have a lot of great songs about love and love lost and love again like Sixteen, Going Undercover, and Excuses. Even just mentioning them reminds me of times in my life where I was processing the loves I had for people and now that my love life is established all these years later it still causes me to celebrate the profound nature of the way a man loves a woman.
Purpose. When I think of the sense of purpose I have in my life today, Deas Vail’s music was instrumental in helping me get ready for Anything You Say now. To move through Growing Pains and to stay Standing Still instead of giving up.
Without a doubt, the most striking song for me, and the one this site is named after, is Shoreline. Holy wow. If I think of the most profound moments of calling and purpose in my life, there was Shoreline. Even more amazing when I was walking the shoreline somewhere and thinking about where I had been called to and who I have been called to be.
Think about where you are in life. You may have been called to where you are today.
Thousand Foot Krutch/FM Static – Acceptance
Oh man. Between Deas Vail and this one, you have two bands that I have literally listened to for months at a time whilst listening to nothing else. And multiple times.
Thousand Foot Krutch has helped me find acceptance in life – of who I am, of what’s happened in me and around me, and also helped me see how truly accepted I am. This has been a surprise to many people that the absolute favourite band for a little white nerd with a Lego haircut is a Canadian metal band. But it’s the truth.
Every song in TFK’s line up has helped me through something. Whether it was feeling like I couldn’t Scream through some of the heavy things that have consumed my heart, where I responded to the offer to Take It Out On Me, or refusing to accept a mask and Welcome To The Masquerade.
Also, wow. Live at the Masquerade is the most amazing live album ever. I was also fortunate to hear them live back in the days of Easterfest in Queensland (RIP Easterfest).
They also have a number of acoustic tracks and also a whole acoustic side project called FM Static which you would have heard a number of their songs back in the days of primetime MTV like Definitely Maybe or Crazy Mary.
I have to mention some of the top songs to me here. All I Need to Know has been my ringtone since it came out, and what a reminder of the simple truth of what I need to know – that I’m never alone and I’m always loved. My Favourite Disease is my struggle between monster and saint – the same struggle all of us face. Lifeline has been one that’s helped me in recent years through finding strength in weakness and keeping on going.
TFK has also done a number of collabs which are all extraordinary, every single one. But I have to say one of their many collabs with Manafest is my absolute favourite song – Every Time You Run. No matter what happens, no matter what thoughts beat you to death, no matter who in your life is with you or not, we have a friend and someone who actively seeks us out.
When I think of the bands that have shaped my life, TFK was and still remains at the top. Well done for remaining brilliant for decades.
Honourable mention – Sons of Korah. They put the Psalms to music. Love it.
So there you go. Get on your Play Music or your Spotify or your Youtube or your whatever music app you use and get on it.
How about you? Those were the bands that have shaped my life – what about yours?
Reliant K was important to me too