Remember It All
Hello everyone! As you may know, my favorite band of recent years has been The Midnight. A band known for their synthwave sound and heartfelt lyrics, Tim McEwan and Tyler Lyle have come together once more to release their 5th studio album, “Heroes”, on September 9th of this year. I’ve listened to it nonstop for the past few weeks, and every song on the album is fantastic. The end of a three album trilogy about growing up and finding your way, “Heroes” focuses on the feeling of becoming an adult, looking back on the years and moving forward towards the inevitable end. It’s more bittersweet in tone than the wistful feel of “Kids” and the angsty feel of “Monsters”.
I wanted to talk about the songs that resonated with me the most on this album, “Photograph” and “Energy Never Dies, It Just Transforms”. I suggest listening to the songs before reading the rest of this blog (or read the lyrics for “Photograph”, if you’d like. Honestly you should listen to the whole album, but that’s up to you!). These are the last two tracks on the album, and they really wrap it up in a way that makes you feel sad for times past, but hopeful for the future.
When I first heard “Photograph”, I instantly thought of my best friends and the times we spent together in high school. My friend Erin loved taking pictures of us when we hung out, so if I feel like going back to those memories, I easily can. I have a bad memory, to the point that I can’t remember certain parts of my childhood and teen years. I’m grateful to Erin for documenting those memories of all of us because I genuinely cannot remember some of them unless I see those pictures.
My best friend Damian passed some time ago, but it still feels like it was yesterday. He loved to take pictures too, and he had a bunch of them from our post-high school years. I’m sure they’re still on his Facebook page. Combined with Erin’s photos, his photos, and my own, I can relive my teenage and fresh adult years in broken, but warm, pieces.
Hearing “Photograph” for the first time was intense. The melody is simple and gentle, but the lyrics packed a punch I was not prepared for while driving my child home from her grandfather’s house. To paraphrase in a way that I understand them, the lyrics are about looking at your life, feeling those memories (good and bad), and remembering that everything up until this point in your life has made you who you are. Taking those memories with you on your journey into whatever life has in store is hard, but necessary in order to evolve. The way Lyle sings “Lightning/petty and tragic/The horror, the magic/Remember it all” is mournful, knowing that the memories are the times we can’t get back, so hold onto the feelings they give you. It’s pretty intense for someone who’s lost someone very close to them.
“Photograph” seamlessly transitions into “Energy Doesn’t Die, It Just Transforms”, a stellar instrumental piece that gives the same bittersweet feeling of moving forward, away from your past and into the unknown. After listening to the song prior, it hits in a way that you might not expect…at least that’s how I felt it! Combined with the grief that I still feel about losing my best friend and my baby’s cooing in the back of the car, I honestly had to pull over to cry for a bit.
I’ve always believed that nothing is ever truly gone, whether it be people, things, thoughts, energy. Damian lives on through the memories of the people who loved him, and knowing that has always given me comfort. Olivia will never know her Uncle Damian personally, but she’ll know him from the memories that I hold close to my heart, and the memories attached to the photos that I cherish.
“Energy Never Dies, It Just Transforms” isn’t just a title of a song to me, it’s a sentence that has real meaning in my life. The music attached to that phrase, that title, instantly grafted itself to the feelings of grief and longing for the times I shared with my best friend. It also gave meaning to my future with my family, my friends, my life. Nothing is ever truly lost, and having a piece of music that so perfectly demonstrates that feeling is, well, wonderfully overwhelming. The Midnight has always been great about setting a tone in their music, and I feel like “Heroes”, specifically these last two tracks, is the perfect example of that.
I plan on diving deep into the album, and maybe even going back and analyzing “Kids” as I said I would (I analyzed/reviewed “Monsters” already — you can read that here); however, I couldn’t ignore the effect that these last two tracks had on me. I feel like if you’ve ever experienced a great loss (no matter what that loss might be), “Photograph”’s lyrics will strike a chord in your heart. If you’ve been lucky enough to avoid a great loss in your life, I feel like one could still appreciate the idea of moving forward after reminiscing on the past. And like I said in the previous paragraph, “Energy Never Dies, It Just Transforms” is the perfect way to describe the idea of all things never really being gone.
If you listen to nothing else The Midnight has ever come out with, I suggest listening to these two songs. I’ve never been able to feel such a strong connection to lyrics and notes before, and that’s saying something for someone who loves music as much as I do! Honestly, if you like the two songs, you’ll probably love The Midnight’s discography. I am biased, and I will sing their praises until the cows come home, but I genuinely think The Midnight is a band unlike any that I’ve ever heard or seen and I wish more people knew about them!
Thanks for reading, as always! I’ve been trying to figure out how to put how I felt about “Heroes” on (digital) paper ever since my first listen, especially the last two songs. I think I got my point across pretty well, and I hope you enjoyed reading it! Seriously, go listen to “Heroes”. They really knocked it out of the park with this one.
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