Some of us were born with an extremely ambitious personality. It is both a curse and a blessing. An ambitious person finds themselves striving for something that they can accomplish, but in many instances it also leaves them speechless when they realize their dreams will never come to fruition.
Along with ambition comes rebellion. One is not ok with how they see the world. They are not okay with the norms of society and they are bound to make a stand against them in any way they can. This is how I am. I have strived to be a musician my whole life with the goal of giving people an escape into a world where all their shortcomings and emotions make sense. I hold this dream to this day. Now that I have become involved in civic matters, I find myself feeling this same strife for social and governmental issues. I often find solace in this frustration and rebellion, that comes with being overly ambitious in the phonography of music.
Now this is not something new. I have been doing this for years since high school. The first record I completely found peace in was Good Charlotte’s The Young and The Hopeless. They did not accept the norms, yet they had the courage to stand up for a voice that is often not heard. From high school feeling like a jail cell to family problems, each song on this album makes a declaration of ambition.
The album starts out with the holy grail of high school rebellion songs, “The Anthem.” The song is simple, I don’t want to grow up to be just like you. It’s about looking at the adults in your life as a young man or woman and realizing that isn’t what you want to be, that there has to be more to life then what they have alluded to. Life is not about making straight A’s, going to college, and just “doing your time.” Just because that is the way it has always been doesn’t make it correct. With a more than anthem feel musically, this song makes its point clearly.
Then we have “Lifestyles of The Rich & Famous.” This song basically rebukes all those with money who have everything, yet still seem to complain about countless troubles and woes. This is all set to the tune of what I would call dance/punk/pop. How about they take a walk in our shoes for once? Are these the kind of people we want to be or is it exact opposite?
Finishing out side A, I have to make note of “The Story of My Old Man” and “My Bloody
Valentine.” We all have problems with our family with some having more drastic problems then others, but we always feel a rebellion to the norm that our family wants us to achieve. This is also a song of comfort for those of us who are victims of having divorced parents. It makes you realize you will eventually stand up and see things for what they are, and with a loud screw you, you will be able to deal.
Lastly, I just love “My Bloody Valentine.” It’s a great story song. It tells the story of falling in love hard. With its more metal feel, this makes a point of hard love and gives light to a thought I think we have all had. This is definitely a “don’t try this at home,” or ever, contemplation.
Side B starts out with “Hold On.” This song assures us that although you feel nobody is there for you, there is always a reason to hold on. It will get better. This is the depression that comes when your ambition is not coming in your time. This is a soft rock/punk/pop tune if you will. It is followed by the pure punk, “Riot Girl.” I have always found myself jamming out to this song. It’s a fun medley of “Christina you don’t want to meet her, Britney you better run for cover,” and something all of us guys wish for in a girl, yet we just don’t always admit it.
Moving over a few songs we come to “The Young And The Hopeless.” This song portrays how all of us have felt, especially when we don’t follow the path that society and our families have laid for us. It’s accepting the fact that yes I’m troublesome, I’m bothered, I’m lost, and that I’m going nowhere, but in the end it’s me against this world. I am responsible for my actions. If I fall, let me. If I succeed, praise me. In the end I’m going to do what my soul is comfortable with.
Then there is the ballad of the entire album “Emotionless,” another ode to those of us ridden with the wreckage of divorce. Although the song projects the abandonment of the Madden brothers’ father, I think it is one that each of us can relate to. Coming from a similar situation, this song strikes almost every emotional cord I have. This song has a twist that normal divorce songs don’t have. Under all the hatred and anger, you still miss your father or in a larger case your family as it was. I am always amazed at how Joel Madden can take his vocals down to such an emotional level.
The last song “Moving On,” declares what we all have to do, those of us who are super ambitious and those that are breathing. This song is about learning from each experience and emotion, and making something of it. You may make the wrong idea of it, but in the end it’s yours and you have to move on. It has a chant like chorus that exclaims emotions from lust and love to hope and truth. “Moving On” isn’t about getting over the injustices you see and feel; it’s about making the most of them.
This album came out in 2002. I was just trying to figure out who I was at that time, yet to this day I still think this album speaks truths, not only to high school me, but also to young adult me and beyond. I still haven’t figured out who I am and this album tells me that’s ok. It’s a journey and I may never figure out, but realizing that it’s a hopeless cause reassures me I have to move on.
This album also holds other beliefs I still find true. I still believe that girls don’t like boys, that they like cars and money and I am still happy about wondering what my girlfriend or dog is exactly thinking, but I really don’t want to know the day that I die.
In retrospect, this album has taught me to be the change I want to see in the world. Although my actions may not change the world, it’s my soul I am living with. It is essential that I share with others what I have gone through in life, for it not only releases my pinned up emotions, but it helps those going through the same thing. We are all survivors. It’s a question of what we survived that remains un-answered.
Now I know I left my Level Twenty Seven Shirt somewhere in my dresser. It’s going to look great with my Made hoody I finally found.