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EVERYTHING HAPPENS

2019

I’d yet to discover Wallows until one fateful evening during the spring of 2019. I spent that night cemented to my rickety childhood bed. Desperate to avoid doing homework, I resorted to Spotify in the hopes of occupying my brain. I was a second semester junior in high school, and music was one of my only sources of joy and comfort throughout an otherwise tumultuous time period. As the app began to populate my overheated laptop screen, I decided I’d begin my usual process of searching for new music to add to my monthly playlist. I’d adopted this habit since 2016; it was my way of keeping a sort of time capsule. Every song I’d enjoyed within a four-week span was there for me to revisit whenever I felt a yearning for nostalgia. So, I took a leap of faith and pressed play on my “Discover Weekly” playlist the app had generated, and came across the song “Are You Bored Yet” by Wallows. 

The following afternoon, I was dropping off my best friend at her house after school. Once we arrived at her street, the same song I’d quickly become enamored with the previous evening began to play. It sounds cheesy, I know, but as each lyric reverberated through the speakers of my mom's car, I felt more and more conflicted. Each word seemed to line up eerily well with the real-life situation I’d found myself in. You see, I was in the very beginning stages of my first “real” relationship, and my best friend was encouraging me to ignore my doubts (was he “bored yet?”). 

Looking back, I sometimes wonder if I can even “count” this relationship as a real one; we dated for four months and I’m sure much of it was exaggerated in my mind. However, it felt real to me at the time. In my opinion, that is all that matters. 

If I didn't make it obvious enough, “Are You Bored Yet” was the first song by Wallows I ever listened to (on February 19, 2019, to be exact) so of course it holds a special place in my heart. Unsurprisingly, it had a similar impact on countless others worldwide after it went viral on TikTok during the pandemic. Now, the track has over 800 million streams on Spotify alone. This song may be what put them on the map for millions of fans, including myself, but that is just the beginning of my Wallows fandom. 

My love for Wallows, which quickly became my new favorite band, grew as the weeks went on. Simultaneously, the aforementioned relationship within my personal life had begun to occupy the other half of my psyche. However, this boy was a year older, so his preparation to leave for college in a few short months (and my plans to be stuck in Atlanta for another year) practically ensured the end of our time together. 

Through all the ups and downs of this relationship, Wallows’ music was there for me. And it’s important to note that while this wasn't true, I felt completely alone in the world without their songs. What I thought at the time was classic teenage angst, was really the beginning of my journey living with depression and anxiety. 

 

On March 21, 2019, almost an exact month after I first discovered their music, Wallows released their debut album, Nothing Happens. This album shaped my adolescent years and spoke to me in a way no other music had before. In fact, the introductory track of the album, “Only Friend”, seemed to precisely encapsulate the crippling sense of isolation I felt.

“Weathered and faded

Who feels alone in the world?

You do

Too complicated

It's not the same anymore

You're through…

 

…I don't know what to say

I feel the ending close

Pick up the pieces

Finding a place in the world to be”

Funny enough, I actually relate to this song even more in the present day than I did back then. As a twenty-two year old who would (*almost*) rather relive high school than be asked the question “So, what are your post-grad plans?” one more time,  I find the lyrics “finding a place in the world to be” as relatable as it gets. However, I simultaneously empathize with my high school self who felt eerily similar to the way I do now. I had four years at a then-unknown college looming over my head like a ton of bricks. If only I knew the half of what was in store for me, pandemic and all. However, before I dive into their first album further, I think it makes more sense to go back to the very beginning. While I didn't know of their music at the time, some of Wallows’ earliest singles and their first EP titled Spring (released in 2018) became just as special to me as Nothing Happens. 

More specifically, their first single “Pleaser” which marked the band’s debut back in 2017 (and just celebrated its seven year anniversary) became my go-to track when I needed a pick-me-up during the dreariest of days. I’d play this song on repeat during drives home from school. Eventually this turned into a routine; each afternoon I hoped the song would finally succeed at drowning out the harsh inner dialogue I fought constantly.

“I can't feel it anymore'

Cause recently the line is blurred

Between depression and bliss”​

Those words perfectly encapsulate the highs and lows I felt at the time, and still experience every so often in the present day. 

More on those highs and lows in a bit. But for now, I’m going to dive into three more songs that were released by Wallows prior to Nothing Happens, and discuss each one of their respective impacts. 

2018

This high-school boyfriend (whom I’ll refer to as Sam) and I spoke for the first time at a Halloween party in late October of 2018. At this point, I was an incredibly insecure seventeen- year-old who desperately yearned for some sort of romantic validation. I’d kissed boys, sure, but never felt pretty by any stretch of the imagination. I was practically terrified of talking to boys; forget the thought of dating one. I wasn't as cripplingly shy as I was as a child, but it was close, and I allowed my insecurities to overrule my thoughts. I knew Sam because we both attended the same tiny private high school, and the fact that he was a year older made the idea of him extra alluring. After that night, I knew I liked him, though we only spoke for a few minutes.

We didn't even talk again until the following February. However, just weeks before that same party took place, the single “Drunk on Halloween'' by Wallows was released. This track became my mechanism for time travel within my own mind. I’d press play and immediately feel transported right back to the party. I'd stood sheepishly by the bushes of my childhood home and ached for my first conversation with Sam to continue. 

Mere months later, our relationship would be ancient history. While I heard the song from a hardened perspective after the breakup, my attachment to it remained. And once Sam was off in college (and I knew we were done for good), I heard these lyrics in a completely new light.

“What's done is done, what's left to say?

I know you better, I know you better now” 

2019

I had a similar experience with the song “Uncomfortable” which was released in 2017 (but I again did not discover it until later on). The lyrics to this single still strike me as painfully relatable. You see, even before my relationship was officially finished, it began to fade; anyone could have seen the end coming from miles away (unless you were the naive seventeen year old girl I was at the time). However, a small piece of me had hoped the voice of reason that lingered in my brain would prove to be incorrect.

 

To be fair to my past self, I was a timid teenager who had never experienced a relationship until this point (and neither had Sam). At times, I felt completely inept. I struggled exceptionally at finding the strength to speak my mind and say how I really felt throughout the entirety of the relationship, in crippling fear that I’d say the wrong thing. “Uncomfortable” put my feelings into words, and this song is still difficult for me to listen to for that reason (despite how much I love it).

“I never wanted love, but now it's come undone

I'm waiting on the time, you see I care

But now it's fading fast, thought it was gonna last

I'm not uncomfortable but I, feel so uncomfortable

When the memories bend

I'll see you at the end

And if they never fade

I won't be far away”

As I touched on earlier, I often went through high highs and low lows (as lots of people do, especially teenagers). For this reason, I thought it was normal to feel despondent for the majority of my waking hours. However, as the weeks went on, my feelings of dejection and loneliness started impacting me more than they ever had.

 

By March, the city of Atlanta was covered in pollen, the hot pink flowers in my backyard had sprouted, and I finally had a boyfriend. It was all I’d ever wanted. Of course, I thought that this new personal feat would fix all of my problems. It didn’t. In fact, the opposite happened. There were times I was happy, sure. For an overwhelming majority of the time, though, I was over-analyzing Sam, left wondering what I was doing wrong. 

 

Naturally, I flipped the narrative back on myself. I somehow convinced my brain that the reason Sam wasn't completely enamored with me was because I was fat. My brain became plagued with self-doubt, and I desperately searched for answers. If I can just fix myself, if I can just lose weight, the rest will fall into place: this was the solution I settled upon.

It didn't take long for the people in my life to realize what I was doing. While all my friends left for our high school cafeteria at lunch time, I opted to stay inside and calculate how many calories I’d allow myself to consume that day. The zest for life I felt as a child dissipated into thin air, and I failed to continue acting as the devoted friend, sister and person I once was. The scale that was hidden in my parents' closet became my guilty pleasure (until they took notice and I promptly purchased one for myself). I became insufferable, weighing myself at every opportunity. All-in-all, I was sick, hyper-obsessed with my appearance, and desperately searching for happiness through a juvenile (and largely one-sided) relationship. 

Sam took notice, too. As we sat in a sticky, bright red booth at our local pizza joint one evening in early April, the only sound surrounding Sam and I was my knife scratching against the dirty ceramic plate (instead of my piece of pizza). I saw a glimmer of worry in his gaze. Did that mean he cared? 

 

Of course, neither of us said anything. An uncomfortable, suffocating silence filled the room. It’s worth clarifying that to his core, Sam was a good guy. Not just a good guy, a great one, in fact. This made the whole situation that much more difficult. I knew deep down that he did care about me (even if it wasn't to the same extent that I did for him). None of that mattered, though; he wasn't ready to be in a relationship. Neither of us were. We couldn't communicate, and in the back of both of our minds was the ever-looming fact that our relationship had an expiration date. 

Soon after, we made the mutual (yet unspoken) choice to give up on the one slice of pizza that sat on my plate, now cold. I’d only taken two bites, and I felt proud. 

On the way back to Sam’s house, I put on my April playlist. Of course, Wallows immediately filled the car’s speakers. I vividly remember seeing “I’m Full”, track ten off Nothing Happens, pop up on my cracked phone screen from shuffle. I cranked the volume, partially to fill the awkward silence but also so my mind could escape the tiny car and go somewhere else entirely. However, the lyrics only echoed my self-doubt. 

“If you get to know me at all, will you run?”

As these words reverberated off of Sam’s freshly cleaned car seats, I couldn't help but feel as if my own self-destructive behaviors were pushing those closest to me away. My deepest fears seemed to be coming to life; the more Sam got to know the real me, the more he’d search for a way out of our relationship. 

An angry rumble escaped my stomach and brought me back to reality. Thankfully, the sound was hidden by the transition into “Treacherous Doctor,” another Wallows song of course and the second track off the same album. The lyrics from this track in particular remain so relatable that the band easily could have peeked into my brain before they began writing. By this point of the car ride, Sam and I had accepted the quiet, so I allowed myself to drift away once again. 

“Can you replace my eyes for yours?

See what I really look like

I could help you criticize”

If only that were possible, I thought to myself as I repeated these heart wrenching lines in my mind. My whole life, I’d struggled with body dysmorphia. What do I really look like to everyone else? Years of avoiding mirrors and agonizing over how my jeans fit on any given day had begun to take a new toll. These behaviors had only recently manifested into disordered eating habits, but for some reason I couldn't remember what life was like before my brain was occupied with my weight from the moment I woke up to the second my head hit my tear-stained pillow.

“Spencyr? Everything okay?” I’d been shaken from my music-induced trance by Sam’s concerned questioning. Looking up, I immediately found Sam’s bright blue eyes staring into mine. A hint of concern glistened beneath his usual aura of nonchalance. Once I made it inside Sam’s house, I felt an overwhelming sense of dread overpower even my now-nauseating level of hunger. Something told me the conversation we were about to have wasn’t going to be easy. 

Sure enough, my inclination was correct. To my surprise, Sam told me he’d started to notice my unhealthy eating habits long ago. To this day, I still remember him saying that my newfound struggles were “all he thought about”. Was it wrong that this made me feel good? (He thought and cared about me!) But no, no, no. None of this was going the way I wanted. Was I a burden? 

All of a sudden, he began saying things I really, really didn’t want to hear. “I can’t give you the energy and effort you clearly need right now.” I saw where the conversation was going, and I didn’t like it. Quickly, I tried to put his mind at ease. I assured him over and over that none of this was his fault. "I’ll be fine", I said. I repeated it so many times that I think I may have even convinced myself.

Ultimately, we decided on that unusually chilly April evening to stay together for a little while longer. After the decision was made, however, things between Sam and I didn't improve by much. As soon as I thought he may be putting in more effort, he’d just as quickly bail on our dinner dates or take days to respond to my text messages.

 

Regardless, the weeks flew by, and I trudged my way through the end of my semester. Each day I woke up with the previous day’s mascara smeared under my eyes, weighed myself, and drove to school with a paralyzing sense of dread draped over my shoulders. Teachers looked at me differently. A once star-student became a shadow of her former self; I practically sleep-walked through the hallways. 

Once school ended at 3 PM, my work wasn't done. My parents had to practically pull my hair to get me to sit through my usual math tutoring sessions. All I wanted to do was hang out with Sam, but my parents cared far too much about my education to allow me to throw it all away when I’d soon be applying for college. I maintained my grades well enough, though due to my depression, I had negative energy and motivation. 

Against my will, I began to see my school’s guidance counselor. My friends, having witnessed my health deteriorate, had taken matters into their own hands by letting adults in on my struggles. Looking back I know they were only looking out for me, but in the moment I felt attacked (and in complete denial).

 

I went to prom, I did my homework and I earned the standardized test score I needed to be within “Michigan range” as I came to call it (the University of Michigan was my dream school from the moment I first visited years earlier). However, I was just going through the motions. If you've ever been depressed, you’ll understand what I mean. A certain numbness overtakes your psyche until you become so accustomed to the feeling that you forget what life was like previously. 

Inevitably, Sam and I came to a definite end a few short months later. As the weeks flew by and he inched closer and closer towards leaving for college, his commitment to our relationship and my spirit plummeted to new lows.

The night we did break up, I'd known it was over before he even walked through my bedroom door. It was during a torrential downpour, the kind of storm that only happens amidst the wretched humidity of a southern summer. Once he arrived, he explained that he’d come to his senses and realized the profound impact his actions (or lack thereof) were having on me. He explained that it just wasn't fair to continue treating me so unfairly, especially when I didn't deserve any of it. I could barely look him in the eyes. The only words I could muster were to ask if he remembered the first time we talked on Halloween the previous October. “Yes,” he whispered, though he looked pained to revisit the memory. 

I know now Sam was right to end it when he did. Nevertheless, at that moment I was convinced the whole situation was my fault. My brain was overwhelmingly clouded as I hysterically surveyed what I could have done differently. If only I’d lost more weight, if only his friends liked me more, if only I was a year older. That night I tossed and turned for hours, restless; my mind wouldn't grant me even one minute of serenity. I couldn't stop listening to the seventh track from Nothing Happens, “Worlds Apart”. 

“I stayed inside to watch the rain again

I watched all of my movies from the end to the start

And I can't help but think about you now when the trailers start

'Cause I know we're worlds apart…

 

…Do I exist in your heart?

Or did the ship sail away

 

…We don't have a choice

The curtains have closed

I'm making a point

But you'll never know

It’s pathetic, I know, but I listened to the song on repeat and wondered if Sam would miss me once he started college in the fall. We’d promised each other we’d stay in touch, just like all high-school sweethearts do. “I’m always a phone call away. If you dial, I’ll answer.”

 

While this sentiment eased my heart at the time, once August rolled around, I was no longer interested in holding on to this far-fetched offer. I made a promise to myself that calling Sam wasn't in the cards. And I never did. 

The remainder of that summer is a blur to think back on today. I did all the normal activities a seventeen-year-old should be ecstatic about. My friends and I sipped on spiked lemonade for the fourth of July, my sister, mom and I flew across the country for a west-coast vacation, and I let my skin fry in the afternoons as I attempted to turn my pale skin an acceptable shade of bronze. It didn't matter what I did, though; I was absent. 

The only escape that helped me heal was music. Certainly a much healthier coping mechanism than my restrictive eating habits, however I had nobody to share my unwavering love for Wallows with besides my dad. My high school friends are still some of my very best friends to this day, but none of them understood my deep passion for the band.

September 2019 

So, the first time I asked to see Wallows live, my dad was kind and supportive enough to take me. We flew to Columbus, Ohio, solely because it was the only date that worked; the band wouldn't be in Atlanta again for months. 

If I wasn't hooked before, it’s safe to say that seeing the band live lured me in for good. Wallows opened their set that night with one of my all-time favorite songs, “Do Not Wait”. No other song has gotten me through darker times, and it is still my go-to track no matter if I need to hear the lyrics for comfort, or require background noise to ball my eyes out. 

“You will say you're dreaming up a way

You're dreaming up a way to explode

There's a time you'll seek out a disguise

When you think people hate you the most

And it gets worse before it gets better

That's one thing that I have come to know

Just so you know

Do not wait, do not wait, do not wait

I'll be there, I'll be there, I'll be there, I'll be there…”

FEBRUARY 2020

Wallows’ music stayed with me as the months went on. Just as their songs kept replaying through my music rotation, my toxic behavior also remained. Despite the rut I found myself stuck in, a bright spot peaked its way through my clouded mind when Wallows returned to Atlanta during the 2020 leg of their Nothing Happens tour.

 

Instead of going with my dad, I attended the concert with the same friend whom I’d dropped off the previous April while I listened to “Are You Bored Yet?” for just the second time. And despite the fact that he couldn't go in person, my dad made his presence known, as always. He surprised my friend and I with VIP tickets, which granted us a meet-and-greet with the band, along with an acoustic performance and Q&A session. 

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March 2020

My blip of happiness didn't last for long. The Coronavirus pandemic hit that March, and with it, I was quite literally forced to face the issues head on that had been circulating my brain for so many months.

After a few weeks of being perpetually stuck in the house, I hit a breaking point. The restriction I’d grown so accustomed to had caught up with me, and my body was quite literally begging for nutrition. Within no time, my disordered habits flipped on themselves. I went from starving my body to stuffing it; I had completely lost control of my hunger cues and felt the need to binge eat every time food was in sight. I’d binge, feel so guilty that I’d force myself to restrict, and become so hungry that I’d binge again. It was a vicious cycle, and one that lasted for longer than I’d like to admit. 

As I’ve alluded to, my mind was mainly preoccupied with thoughts about my weight and body image at the start of quarantine. However, when I allowed myself to dwell on anything else, it was college. The University of Michigan, my dream school, had already deferred my admission decision twice. The waiting game was almost enough to send me over the deep end. 

Thankfully, Wallows came to my rescue when my misery due to the uncertainty of my future was at its peak: with ten days to go until decisions were revealed. They released the upbeat single “OK” at a time when not only I, but the whole world, needed to hear a reminder of music's ability to offer support through troubling times. 

Finally, March 28th rolled around. As my sister held me, I watched in utter disbelief when the acceptance letter populated my laptop screen. My parents, who were likely even more nervous than I was, waited anxiously at the bottom of the stairs for the news. They mistakenly interpreted the sound of my sister’s tears of joy as a sign that I was rejected, until I rose from my state of shock and shared the long-awaited result. 

That night, I felt elated, yet uneasy. If this was something I’d wanted for so long, why wasn't I happier? I’d quite literally burned myself out in every sense of the phrase; I worked as hard as I could bear just to be in Ann Arbor that fall. And yet, I wasn't fulfilled. 

My dad entered my room to say goodnight to me just as he had every other night of my life, but that evening, the gesture felt different. I was suddenly painfully aware that in exactly 147 days, my entire life would change. I’d never be a kid again. I regretted every waking moment I’d spent wishing high school away, and found myself turning to music once again for a source of comfort. This time, “Ground” by Wallows came on shuffle, the first track off their Spring EP which was released in April of 2018. I listened intently to the following lines and visualized my childhood flash through my memories.

“We were wanting to grow up every weekend

Now we're watching the moments as they're leaving”

As the countdown to my departure date grew closer, I became more optimistic. Despite the fact that the world was still in the midst of a pandemic, I leaned on encouraging words from my loved ones and told myself that college may be just the experience I needed to become the person I was meant to be. As “Do Not Wait” so eloquently states, sometimes things have to get worse before they get better, right? ​

August 2020

The night before I left Atlanta, I got dinner with a few of my best friends. I tried to act as if it were any other night. As if the next morning I wouldn't wake up and leave behind the life I’d known for eighteen years. 

I’ve always been one to procrastinate, so naturally I still had some last-minute packing to do. No matter how much anxiety I felt, nothing was going to stop time and grant me the right to stay in Atlanta. So instead of allowing my anxious thoughts to entrap my mind, I turned to the only outlet that never failed to calm me down. You can probably guess what I’m referring to by now. 

I felt my breathing slow as I scrolled through my music library and pondered which song would do the trick this time. A small chuckle escaped my lips when I stumbled upon my Wallows playlist. How had it taken me so long to pick? Always indecisive but never unpredictable. One more minute of hesitation later and then “Ice Cold Pool,” the sixth track off Nothing Happens, started to blast from my iPhone. It was fitting; a song that perfectly epitomizes leaving your youth and being entirely unsure of what’s to come. I couldn't help but smile as I instinctively began to sing. 

"What's the fun if you know what's comin'?

I don't want to escape this feeling

And when we tear down the walls completely

Are we left with the same old memories?”

I wish I could say that life was all sunshine and rainbows once I settled into Ann Arbor, but this was not the case. Due to COVID, the University of Michigan I had visited pre-pandemic was a shadow of its former self. There were no meals eaten in the dining hall, no in-person classes, no football games, no parties, and no group strolls through the Diag. To make these unfortunate circumstances worse, my roommate and I weren't a great match personality-wise, and I had a classic case of freshman homesickness. 

I needed to find something in my life I could control again, so of course I turned to food. My eating habits were at their worst, and in what seemed like the blink of an eye, I was just as depressed as I’d been in high school.

The days blended together; there were some weeks I barely left my dorm, let alone my bed. I filled out a form to try and meet with CAPS, the University’s Counseling and Psychological Services, but never heard back. They were understaffed, and demand for mental health services among students had never been higher. Oh well, I thought. At least I tried. I longed for the Atlanta sunshine, for a home-cooked meal, for the friends I’d grown up with. All in all, life seemed pretty bleak.

November 2020

One fall morning, I was awakened by the harsh sounds of construction that had seeped through the window of my shoebox-sized dorm room. I pressed my oversized pillow over my ears in the hopes of going back to bed; sleep was what I looked forward to most those days. Despite my best efforts, there was no use in pretending that drifting back into my once peaceful slumber was an option. I searched under my covers for my phone; certain I’d fallen asleep with it in my hand once again. Once I found it and tapped through my lockscreen, my stomach immediately dropped. I’d woken up to hundreds of texts. Surely, something was wrong.  

Once I heard the news, I wished that damned construction had never jolted me from my state of naïveté. But there was no escaping reality: The University of Michigan emailed the entire freshman class that we’d soon be forced to move out of our dorms. COVID cases were out of control (and pressure on the University was insurmountable). I was in complete and utter disbelief, and to make matters worse, the girls I’d thought were becoming my best friends had made new off-campus living arrangements- all while I was still asleep. The leaves had barely begun to change, and West Quadrangle, the makeshift home I’d tried so desperately to adjust to, was no longer my own. 

That evening, I hit a breaking point. I paced the perimeter of my dorm building balling; I didn't want to go outside in the cold but I couldn't bear to be stuck in my bedroom for another minute. I played "Do Not Wait" over and over until my headphones died. I felt lost. I’d come to Michigan full of hope; I thought my first two semesters would be the start of the best four years of my life. This was the institution I’d put myself through hell for? What was the point of any of it? 

January 2021

Against my strongest wishes, my parents pushed me to give college another chance and head back to Ann Arbor for my second semester. I found a new group of friends to live with in a run-down house that was thirty minutes from campus, and we made it work. I joined a sorority and found a community where I felt at home. Despite the fact that almost all of our events took place virtually, we all quickly bonded; our experiences at college had not gone the way any of us had hoped thus far. 

The weeks went on, and fortunately COVID became less and less prominent. In turn, my happiness rose significantly. And, as an added bonus, Wallows returned to the music scene with the deluxe version of their second EP, Remote. 

January 2022 

Fast forward to the second semester of my sophomore year, and I was as close to happy as I’d ever been. The previous fall, I’d finally experienced a real Michigan football tailgate. My friends and I ecstatically cheered on the team at the Big House, and when the end of every third quarter arrived, we screamed the lyrics to "Mr. Brightside" with 100,000 other fans. Ann Arbor was alive; it finally felt like a real college town again. I dined in-person at every restaurant I’d bookmarked on Yelp, and I was overjoyed to be living in a constantly-cluttered room at my sorority house with my two best friends. 

COVID was finally more of a distant memory than a nightmare-inducing reality. Sure, we’d never experience a normal freshman year, but this loss of time encouraged us all to enjoy the two and a half years we did have to the fullest. 

Most importantly, I finally took a seismic leap and began taking antidepressants to lessen the dark, self-deprecating thoughts I’d grown so accustomed to. If you're wondering why it took me so long to do so, that’s a conversation for another time. But all that mattered is that I’d done it. And while changes certainly didn't happen overnight (and I still had a multitude of problems to work through), the medication did make a world of difference. 

March 2022

In March of that same year, the part of my life that I’d missed so badly was found again with the release of Wallows’ sophomore album, Tell Me That It’s Over. Many songs on this LP continued the high energy that Nothing Happens first introduced to their entire audience and to me way back when. Wallows grew in depth and scale since, and this album proved it; the band layered instrumentals like tambourine, flute, harmonica and banjo to create a vibrant and memorable sound. 

 

I listened to the album wherever I went and whenever I could. Despite the fact that I didn’t relate to the lyrics on the same personal level as I had with their previous record, the loyalty I’d developed for the band and my love for their new sound kept me infatuated all throughout their new era.

As I listened to the messaging behind Tell Me That It’s Over, I wondered how long it would take for me to enter a new romantic relationship again. (My present self is here to say that, sorry, it still hasn't happened.) However, I applied the lyrics, which delve into the many intricacies of relationship dynamics, into my life in different ways. As a twenty-something year old, ups and downs with friends and family members is a day-to-day occurrence. And I can say with the utmost certainty that I am no exception. 

Summer - Fall: 2022

Once May arrived, I moved to New York City to start a marketing internship at Madison Square Garden, an arena at which I’d grown up attending concerts, basketball and hockey games. I loved the work I was doing, but my excitement was partially reserved for my upcoming Wallows concerts. I would be seeing them live on tour for the first time in over two years, thanks to the pandemic. It sounds cheesy, but truly no feeling in the world compared to the pure joy I felt while jumping up and down next to complete strangers as we shouted the words to our favorite songs. 

By the end of the American leg of Wallows’ tour, I’d attended six shows, including four nights in a row that summer in New York, and one day spent lined up at their pop-up shop in the city, where I was able to meet Minnette for the second time (he recognized me, which was all I’d talk about for months to my friends’ dismay). 

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Outside of Manhattan, I also saw the band in Atlanta and Philadelphia during that summer. However, once I was back in Ann Arbor for my junior year, I started my case to go to just one more show while the band was in the states.

 

My constant nagging worked somehow; my dad accompanied me to New Orleans that October as an early birthday present. We even got to meet Lemasters again after the show that evening. I felt my cheeks blush as I stood on the sidelines and watched him shake my dad's hand. Lemasters sweetly shared that he'd noticed him in the crowd during the show. Funny enough, my dad may have been even more excited than I; I’d successfully converted him into a die-hard fan.

After I returned to school, I found myself unable to quit ruminating on the quote “don't meet your heroes”. The clear sentiment behind the saying is that our role models can never live up to the unrealistic expectations that we, as fans, instinctively set for them. However, I can confidently say that Wallows are three genuine, down to earth artists. Maybe it’s the fact that Lemasters, Preston and Minnette grew up as “fanboys” themselves, or maybe they are just great guys through and through. Regardless, the trio carries each fan interaction with the utmost care; so much so that I've come to recognize parts of my own personality in each band member. Lemasters' wit, Preston's initially shy demeanor and Minnette's perfectionist tendencies are all qualities I see within myself. As silly as it may sound, these parallels help me feel close to the band, even from afar. 

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January 2023 

If you can believe it, six concerts just didn't satisfy me. Luckily, I saw the band once more in Paris, France on the European leg of the Tell Me That It's Over tour. That night, I was able to chat and take a photo with the band before they went on stage; A fangirl’s dream came true. I even got to gift Minnette a vintage 1996 Atlanta Olympics tee (as an homage to my hometown, and the second city I saw the band play in) which he still wears from time to time to this day.

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I was able to make the Paris show happen because following the concert, I’d stay in Europe to spend four months studying in Florence, Italy. That semester abroad turned out to be my happiest thus far; no experience could compare to exploring Florence during the weekdays and a new city every weekend. On top of the pages of my passport being filled consistently, I had one of my best friends from high school by my side as my roommate and “travel buddy” through every adventure. 

Just like so many pivotal life moments from my past, Wallows’ music served as the soundtrack to my months away from the states. Whether it was on a chairlift in Sicily or a kayak in Switzerland, I listened to their music and instantly felt transported back to the lost seventeen- year-old I'd been only a few years prior.

I will never forget how scared I felt as my plane took off from America. The same pit of dread that I once felt the night before I left for college sat in my stomach. Was I making a mistake leaving home for so long? What if I don’t make any new friends? How had I grown up so fast? Where had the time gone?

While I, of course, didn't find answers to these questions immediately (and some have still remained unanswered), I felt comfort in taking the leap of faith. Moving halfway across the world wouldn't be easy, that much I knew. But I trusted that things would turn out okay. 

Sure enough, they did. And, like always, I had Wallows’ music to calm my nerves. As the plane’s wheels lifted off the ground, I felt my pulse quicken. Within seconds, these nerves dissipated; my favorite line from “Guitar Romantic Search Aventure,” the final track off the band’s sophomore album, had begun to fill my headphones. 

“My life's going by, but it's just begun”

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