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The Music of Our Dark Years

Let’s face it, people: we all had that weird phase in Junior High in which we now look back and think is somewhat “wannabe.” Blasting out of our phones, headphones or speakers, was the music that we felt identified our dark souls and black hearts. That embarrassing and frankly, funny phase happened to all of us. For me, it was called the “Dark Ages,” because not only was the music dark, but my sight was, too, since I could barely see thanks to my curtain-length bangs.

Yes, this is me with my drop-dead bangs.

The incarnation of our pent-up anger and fake placebo depression took the form of many bands. Most of these were pretty popular,  like My Chemical Romance, Paramore, 30 Seconds to Mars, Green Day, and Fall Out Boy.  Although most of their songs had more of a protest and anger kind of feel, such as “American Idiot” and “Know Your Enemy.” Green Day had me hooked from the start, because I have this weird thing when people share my last name, and so Billie Joe Armstrong, the lead singer, automatically turned into my bestie. Songs like “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” by Green Day made us feel like we were part of the very dramatic video with its deserted roads that emanated abandonment. Then again, all these songs were overly dramatic. Who can forget MCR’s legendary “Famous Last Words” video, where the band caught on fire on the same parade float they used for the “Welcome to the Black Parade” video?

Similar in style, but paired with vastly different vocals, was Fall Out Boy, with the great-looking Pete Wentz. Their songs like “I Don’t Care” and “Thnks fr th mmrs” were sort of a trademark for when I was angry at the world, at Mom, and even my teacher. Heck, any reason was good enough to be angry. By Flyleaf, “I’m So Sick” was one of my go-to’s for when I had just fought with Mom and decided to do a good door-slamming. Flyleaf was one of my favorites. “All Around Me” had the perfect level of creepiness by composing a rare mix between death, duplicity (she talks in plural sense—Gollum much?) and consuming love:

I can feel you all around me

Thickening the air I’m breathing

Holding on to what I’m feeling

Savoring this heart that’s healing

 

The music makes me sway

the angels singing say we are alone with you

I am alone and they are too with you”

 

So basically, she was crazy in love with a zombie.

At the top of my list were My Chemical Rmance, 30 Seconds To Mars, Three Days Grace, and Paramore. My obsessions que tenía quemadas, were not much; I listened to them over and over. “The Kill,” “From Yesterday” and what later transformed into “Hurricane” and “Closer to the Edge” were my hourly favorite songs by the very young Jared Leto. He may be our new Joker, but he used to be as emo and dark-haired as they came. Also, he had a really decent screamo. My Chemical Romance still rocks my soul with their music and instrumentation. I mean yes, their lyrics are purely poetic, but those drums and guitars are to die for. “Teenagers,” “Helena,” “Famous Last Words” and the most popular one, “Welcome to the Black Parade,” still do their magic in me when I randomly listen to them.

The queen of my well-seasoned music taste was Amy Lee from Evanescence. Her voice haunted me so much; it was like listening to a mermaid. Their first album, Fallen, gave me many songs to wildly sing along to “Going Under,” “Bring Me to Life,” and from The Open Door, “Call Me When You’re Sober,” among others, were so deliciously dark for my creepy past-self that they had me obsessed. Also, “Lithium,” which now I notice is just plain twisted. The play on words of songs like these were what caused all the placebo depressions, “Lithium, I want to stay in love with my sorrow…Here in the darkness I know myself…Always find my place among the ashes.”

Thankfully, I found myself maturing a tiny bit, and got more and more sarcastic. Apart from the gorgeous redhead of Paramore, the inimitable Hayley Williams, with her envious voice and amazingly cynical lyrics, the All-American Rejects also found their place in my new personality. It was songs like “Misery Business,” “That’s What You Get,” “Ignorance” from Paramore, “Gives You Hell” and the classic “Dirty Little Secret” from AAR that did their work into getting me out of that wannabe pit and out into the quite sarcastic real world.


Author of "Partida en Dos," a self-published poetry book, and also published writer featured in magazines such as Sábanas, El Vicio del Tintero, Emily, and the Anthology of the Revolutionary Alliance. Bachelor student of English Literature and minors in Comparative Literature and Teacher Preparation. Born and raised in the West of Puerto Rico, artist, dancer, tree-hugger and animal rights activist. 
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