Picture this: it’s 2018. I’m in my Spanish 1 class during my freshman year of high school. I’m minding my own business with my friend, working our way through the exercises our teacher assigned. Then, out of nowhere, a boy I had never spoken to comes up to us and says “I’m about to change your life. Listen to this song.” In my notebook he writes “Pleaser, Wallows,” and leaves. I never spoke to him outside of that class after that, but that night I did what he said to do. There, on the floor of my bathroom, the lyrics danced through my mind all the way into my heart. And sure, the story sounds fake, but needless to say, four years later, crying over videos I took at their concert the other night, I can confidently say my life has been changed.
I had the luck of being three rows away from the stage, and when I wasn’t crying/overwhelmed with the realization that Dylan, Braeden, and Cole are in fact real-life people, I made a list in my head of all the reasons I love Wallows.
1. They’ve been best friends their whole lives, and in a band for the majority of their friendship.
Looking at their middle school photos makes me so incredibly proud of them. They’ve come so far in their friendship, in their band, in their individual lives. I can’t even imagine having a bond so strong that they’re able to make it through their lives in a band together and manage to remain best friends. Their friendship is one I crave for myself.
2. Their album outros make me feel like I’m in a movie.
If Wallows knows how to do anything, it’s how to end an album. “Do Not Wait” and “Guitar Romantic Search Adventure” are both euphoric. The lyrics, the emotion, the build up and the release of it all. If you’ve ever seen Perks of Being a Wallflower, you’d know that Charlie and his friends have a “tunnel song” that they play while driving. Well, those two songs are undeniably my tunnel songs.
3. Their album intros set the perfect mood for the rest of the album.
The first times I listened to “Only Friend” and then “Hard to Believe” are imprinted in my memory. The inexplicable excitement they made me feel is unmatched. They both set the tone for their respective albums insanely well. I know I’m going to love a Wallows album the moment I hear the first song.
4. “Permanent Price” reminds me of my favorite fictional couple and I’m not okay.
I’m probably the biggest Percy Jackson fan you’ll ever meet, and the main couple of the series, Percy and Annabeth, were the first people I thought of when I first listened to “Permanent Price.” Annabeth’s whole thing with entering into a new relationship is that she wants to build something permanent, and Percy is the one who is more than willing to offer that permanence to her. I’ll be honest, making that connection made me very emotional.
5. They’re all so cute.
You can’t even deny it. I saw them in person, and believe it or not, they are all far more attractive in person than they even are online. I was awestruck, starstruck, you name it. Did I also fall in love with Lydia, The Regrettes lead singer? Yes. I absolutely did.
6. Their Nothing Happens album. Just all of it.
This album first came out when I was doing cross country in high school. I quickly found it was the perfect album to listen to while running. Now, I have this incredible album associated with warmth, determination, perseverance, and dumping ice cold water on my friends after a particularly hard run. This album brings to my mind a sort of teenage innocence every time I listen to it.
7. “Quarterback” being sung by Cole.
Not only does this song speak to me on so many levels, but his voice is so sweet. Seeing him perform this song in person was wonderful because he was just so adorable. He seemed shy about his singing and yet so appreciative of the crowd. His little “thank you guys” at the end right before he went back to his drums? I basically fell in love.
8. The reuse of lyrics in “Underneath the Streetlights” and “Ice Cold Pool”
“Underneath the Streetlights” was one of the band’s first songs, and “Ice Cold Pool” was track 6 on Nothing Happens. I am absolutely obsessed with how they reuse the lyrics from the first song on “Ice Cold Pool.” The change in tone and the new meaning given to the lyrics with the context of the song is such a great way to see how they are developing as a band.
9. The way that the guitar at the end of “Do Not Wait” follows the same chords as the beginning of “Only Friend,” only slower.
These two songs are certainly in my Top Ten Favorite Wallows Songs (a list for another time), and a major reason is that they have the same guitar chords. I’m no musician and I’m not even sure if “chords” is the right way to describe the instrumental aspect of music, but the way they’re the same makes them feel like different perspectives on the same idea. “Only Friend” to me is about not wanting to let go of someone, and “Do Not Wait” feels like it’s about finally being okay with that someone moving on. It feels like growth.
10. They just never miss.
It’s almost as if Wallows looks at my life for inspiration for their songs. The first time I listened to “I’m Full” I felt as though all the excuses I made were validated in a way, as were the emotions behind my excuses. “At the End of the Day” perfectly describes how I love people romantically. Listening to “Just Like a Movie” sends me back to my junior year of high school, reminding me of homecoming and falling in love for the first time. Every lyric of “Hard to Believe” makes me feel like they’re writing to me. Their music makes me feel seen. It’s comforting, having them in that personal way.
So to that random guy who approached me in my Spanish class four years ago, thank you. Thank you for opening the door to my favorite band, my favorite songs. Thank you for leading me to the best night of my life. Seeing my boys in concert was surreal. Sure, the Post Concert Depression might be hitting me already, but I wouldn’t give up those memories for anything.