Here’s the emergent theme as best as I can tell: if you stick with something and you’re not successful in the traditional, expected, or headline sense, people will look at you like you’re crazy. You’ll start to look at yourself like you’re crazy too. But, you’re not. Well, maybe not. Hopefully not. You are at least a little crazy and a lot stubborn. We can know this much – you’re officially not crazy if you prove them wrong. But, how much longer are you willing to persevere? It’s a hard journey my friend. Just remember, real artists don’t starve. Find a way to make it work for you and not you for it.
“Ballad of Me and my Friends” by NOFX. We’re going to start and end here because this song says it all. “We’re definitely going to hell / but we’ll have all the best stories to tell.”
“Nike’s (Alt)” by Jeff Rosenstock. And if on the pursuit we get distracted and suppress our emotions with the superficial, I.e. a new pair of Nike’s, just recognize it for what it is. “No it’s not gonna bring no happiness / there’s no faking bliss.”
“Where to Start” by Bully. Her voice is magic to me. The criticisms of others sting, “You turn me back into a child / erratic, desperate, sad and wild.” Life is hard, especially when people seem to want to take the wind out of our sails.
“Coin” by The Bobby Lees. And for the others, that we want to put the wind into their sails, we tell them, “I wanna die with your hand in mine.”
“Christopher Dorner” by Ho99o9. For everyone else, sometimes we need to go straight Bad Brains and burn it all to the ground. “Leave no Witness.”
“Missy Done Justice (feat. Camu-Tao & EL-P)” by The Weathermen. So we take our idols and we imitate and improve. We make their art ours, and through practice, we stand on the shoulders of giants.
“Gangster” by The Weathermen & S.A. Smash. “Out my mouth comes nothing but game / and out your mouth please keep my name…” Let them talk. Show and prove. And when necessary, don’t play “fair” or o mb accept their rules. Keep it gangster.
“Spurs 3 (feat. Benny the Butcher and Westside Gunn)” by Conway the Machine. Sometimes the attitude of “made it” comes as a prerequisite on the way to making it. If mindset matters, this is how you do it, and it doesn’t matter how long it takes. “This a man’s world / you at your best when you middle-aged.”
“Gecgecgec (remix) (feat. Lil West and Tony Velour)” by 100 Gecs. No matter how strong we are, we still have to submit somewhere in life to keep ourselves humble. “Baby baby, I’m not stronger, stronger than you.”
“Sweet Thing” by Dijon. Speaking of submitting to love… damn. Great interpretation.
“Ten Year Town” by Hailey Whitters. And we are back to love of the craft. To feel “Twelve years into a ten year town” and still going. It takes drive. It takes stubbornness. But it mostly takes grit.
“Two Fingers” by Jake Bugg. Sometimes we have to escape too. Then, when we go back, we can make peace with the old, and “hold two fingers up to yesterday.”
“I Think You’re Great” by Alex the Astronaut. For our friends who take a different path, we also need sympathy and empathy. Greatness comes in many forms. This song breaks my heart (in a great way).
“Bob” by Frank Turner. The friends who change have their own struggles in the change. This is a side of this song I never thought I’d hear. I love this cover. Which brings us full circle to…
“The Ballad of Me and My Friends” by Frank Turner. So if you’re still “all about the destination, then take a fucking flight / well, we’re going nowhere slowly but we’re seeing all the sights.”