What. A. Year. I’ll be blunt, as I usually am, and declare 2017 the shittiest year since 2001 (and it’s only August). I know that every year, trials and tribulations plague the entire globe regardless of the date stamp, but terrorism and terrible-Trump has a large amount of global citizens in the dumps. Whether you actually live in Trump’s direct line of American-assholery or across the pond with “black cat” Parliament like pop-punk group Neck Deep does, you feel the consequences of a government that’s over-stepping boundaries, except the ones we need them to. The American president refuses to address the destruction of our planet or domestic terrorism in the form of angry white privileged dudes, all while both biased sides of media are creating a race-war fueled by the KKK and neo-nazis. Anyway, as you know, America is a literal shit show and the rest of the world is watching, waiting for our self-destruction while we sit on social media – *shrug emoji*. I’ve marched for women, donated money to the tribes affected by the DAPL and like many Americas, still feel useless and hopeless. Releasing their third studio effort The Peace and the Panic last Friday after dropping three slammers, including most recent single and music video “In Bloom”, Welsh pop-punk group Neck Deep made me feel powerful and for once, capable.
“In Bloom” came to me, and many others, as we are jammed “in between” and stuck in a circular motion of anxiety from living up to what our peers portray over social media and the news in a constant state of apocalypse preparation. “Stop digging me up/we’re never going to/ put the pieces back together/if you won’t let me get better” is an anthem to ourselves and the people around us who boast the “American” state of mind of “it could be worse, get over it”. To me, “In Bloom” is about taking a step back from your stress and panic to give yourself a break, to demand a break from those who refuse to give it, to allow yourself a graceful fall and eventually see it all in bloom. I see my peers, and myself, literally crumbling under pressure that we place on ourselves. Millennials are reportedly “ruining everything”, when in reality we’re trying to fix everything. Whether it’s looking absolutely perfect on social media and in person, thriving in relationships and careers while trying to chase dreams, all while paying off sky-high student loans having – we’re STRESSED (but still can’t afford therapy because of our broken health care system).
“Pain, pain, go away/come back another day/I just wanna get one up on life before it kills me” is a school-yard tune revolving around trying to shake off the adult dilemma of figuring out what happens after we die, and “19 Seventy Somethin” narrates what it’s like to lose a parent (spoiler alert, it really sucks). In the end, Barlow drives home the idea that is doesn’t matter, with “we are just passing by”. I find comfort in this idea of being small in this universe and maybe you will too. Sometimes walking (or running) away from life is important, especially in the music industry right now, and I applaud Neck Deep for using their medium to encourage it through this album full of straight bops.
No, Neck Deep simply releasing an album can’t solve any of the above listed issues from mental health or shady politics and it may not even start anymore important conversations besides this one, but what it DID do, was provide a glimmer of hope. A tiny piece of sparkle in the crumbling mess of modern day panic. If the motion sickness has you spinning out, take a breather with Neck Deep’s latest record and remember, “you’re on your way”. Pick up The Peace and the Panic here and catch them on tour!