It’s been a long damn year. And for the millionth time, music has again helped me make sense of it.
Grouplove released their first album, Never Trust a Happy Song in 2011, and I did not venture in much farther than the hit single, “Tongue Tied.” Yet their unique and slap-happy, enthusiastic, indie pop-rock style stuck with me, and I immediately pushed play on Big Mess when it came my way last week.
After grooving to the upbeat and freeing vibes of “Do You Love Someone,” I knew I was in for something good. But it wasn’t until after I zoned out during “Standing in the Sun,” and caught myself in the middle of “Enlighten Me,” that I realized just how talented, versatile, and relevant Grouplove is these days.
Usually reckless and off the wall, Grouplove slows down with simple piano to start the fourth track.
My ears perked up, resuming attention on the speaker across the room. The tune built up and dropped off, catchy drums interspersed with wood blocks in the background. I realized I might be listening to one of the best pop-rock indie songs I’ve come across this year.
“The tendency of time is to never understand it,” Zucconi continues. “The lesson of my life is to never comprehend it.”
My heart synced with the heavy drums for a moment, and I felt like finally, someone has made a song that. After quitting my job, moving across the country to start graduate school, moving in with a stranger, taking out more student loans, and questioning pretty much everything I’ve done to get to this point – explained the overwhelming feeling of loss and uprooting I’ve been dealing with for months.
Then in “Good Morning,” Grouplove’s undying optimism returns with a sonic splash and the proclamation “the night is young, the rest is up to you.”
This past week I attended a conference in California, as part of my graduate program in journalism, and I was more or less thrown into a ridiculous mix of learning, adventure, and socializing (with a hefty dose of drinking). So when I listened to Hannah Hooper sing, “Tonight I’m singing / I’ve got the feeling / The clock is moving / Moving till I lose control / Get now, I’m leaving / My ears are ringing / My body screaming / This is unbelievable,” in my hotel room morning, noon, or night, I was completely on board. I was ready to “see what the future holds.”
And now sitting on the plane back to Colorado, I felt the tone of “Spinning,” as Grouplove definitely states: “Say here I stand / I was broken, now I’m brave / Say here I am / Found my colors in the gray.”
No matter where we are in life, in our careers, or where we are physically, we’re always learning more about ourselves. Finding new meaning, redefining our limits, and letting go of what isn’t worth weighing us down.
So, “my legs are tired, but I keep on pushing,” and maybe all I know is “growing up and growing old.” But thanks to Grouplove and a reinvigorating week with colleagues, coworkers, and new friends, I’m not so scared to carry on.
Maybe Grouplove’s Big Mess will help make sense of yours, too.
There has never been a better time to be in love with indie music and the musicians who create it. I write about and share what I discover because I find it difficult not to.