When pop rock band All Time Low released their single “Weightless” in 2009, I was thirteen years old. Rian Dawson on drums. Zack Merrick on bass. Jack Barakat on lead guitar. Alex Gaskarth singing about how he’s “over getting old.” It was the rise of a new pop punk generation … and I thought I knew it all, didn’t I?
God, I have to laugh.
“Weightless” is the lead single of All Time Low’s third studio album – Nothing Personal, the album many of the guys say launched their entire careers, and I have to be honest with you. I actually hadn’t listened to it for years. As a teenager we grow and get into new things, and for me especially with music I was discovering a lot of different stuff. I don’t think I had heard anything off this album since like 2013.
Until this year. For some insane reason 2019 was the year I revisited pop punk bands. I don’t know why. The short answer is probably that I have never been more angry or bitter in life than I was this year and that’s probably why I was clinging onto early 2000s punk tracks like a baby. Maybe it was also the return of Fall Out Boy .. Green Day .. The Maine put out a new album this year (which I have declared as my album of the year). It was also weird because Paramore didn’t even do anything the entire year. These were the bands that I identified with in this genre when I was younger, and here I was at the edge of adulthood still fucking crying to “Jasey Rae.”
So picture me trying to mind my own business. Trying to move on. Trying for once not to let the past drag my entire mindset down and out of the blue All Time Low is just like, “Hey, Nothing Personal is turning TEN YEARS OLD this year. We’re re-recording the entire thing and also, we’re touring the album in full.”
All Time Low – It’s Still Nothing Personal
Ten years is a long time. That’s a whole decade. People get married and have kids within that time. People graduate college within that time, and you know maybe some people just grow ten years older within that time, but one of the prettiest things about this growth is that within that time – you still listened to the same damn songs, didn’t you? Revisiting Nothing Personal sent me into twelve different life crises.
This blog post is only going to make sense to anyone who’s listened to the album and has experienced this insane shift in the band’s growth between 2009 to now, and if you’re not an All Time Low fan, that’s cool. Maybe I can provide some insight, as I hope I’m doing with anything on this blog anyway.
In the words of Rian Dawson, “We’re here because we’re old as shit.”
So add ten years to my life and suddenly, there I am on the streets of Hollywood literally waiting to enter The Fonda Theater. It’s December in LA, but I was born and raised here and I don’t know what cold is. It was cold enough for me. We stood in line until our hands went numb. Street performers banging on upside down paint cans and buckets came to perform All Time Low songs while we waited. There were fans lined up for blocks, not caring how cold it was. Warped Tour tee shirts in full.
These were the people who had been here the last ten years. These were the people who knew every word of every song that was about to be played. These were the people who have spent the last decade growing, coping, and living through life listening to the same songs I did – and I was so lucky to be surrounded by people who got it.
• • •
I know nobody cares what I do at concerts. Or how I feel. I literally write things down in the hopes that my future self will somehow look back and smile, but I’m documenting this one because I underestimated the feeling of growing up with songs and how powerful it feels to revisit them.
Like I said, when these first came out, I was thirteen. I thought I could relate so hard to everything Alex was singing. Please. What phased me the most was the fact that when I heard these songs again in 2019, it hit harder then they ever did before.
The lyrics I’m listing below are the ones that I yelled back to the band on the night that I saw them for the first time in my life – and doing that, yelling that, having someone sing that back to me to prove I wasn’t alone in feeling all of these words, that meant the world to me … and I couldn’t think of a better way to leave 2019 behind than shouting these words out into the universe and finally letting them live outside of me.
If I could just find the time
Then I would never let another day go by
I’m over getting old
Maybe it’s not my weekend but it’s gonna be my year
And I’m so sick of watching while the minutes pass as I go nowhere
And this is my reaction to everything I fear
Cause I’ve been going crazy, I don’t wanna waste another minute here
Break Your Little Heart
I’m wasted, wasting time
Give it up, this was never meant to be
More than a memory for you
Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t)
For the better part of ten years, I have always wanted to scream this first verse with a crowd. It felt really good to finally do it.
I’ve fought it for a long time now
While drowning in a river of denial
I washed up, fixed up, picked up
All my broken things
One of the most powerful things about seeing your favorite people play live is when you get to yell lyrics that have the potential to hold grateful meaning back to them. Screaming “I’m giving up everything for you,” is one of the best feelings. It’s like telling your band, “Thank you,” in the way that they’re actually gonna hear it. I felt like crying.
Stella Is one of my favorite All Time Low songs! “Feels like I’m falling in love alone,” and loving someone only when they’re wasted. What a jaded way of life .. also the personification of beer that wrecks your life .. I love that lyricism so much, and it’s SO much fun live.
Sick Little Games
So anyone who knows me in real life knows that I cry like twelve times a day. Most of my tears come pouring usually because they are triggered by songs that really hit home for me, but the truth is “Sick Little Games,” was never that song for me. In all of ten years, if I’m crying to an All Time Low song, it’s either “Therapy,” “Coffee Shop Soundtrack,” “Walls, or “Jasey Rae,” but tonight was the night that I didn’t to cry to any of those. I actually cried during this song.
I’m finding me out,
I’m having my doubts,
I’m losing the best of me.
We’re all part of the same sick little games,
and I need a get-away
I’m wasting my days, I throw them away,
Losing it all on these sick little games.
Alex Gaskarth went on to say that Los Angeles was the inspiration behind this one, and I didn’t even know it in the moment the song started, but the second I started singing along with him, it was like all of my pent up energy just spilled out. I’ve spend the better half of 2019 struggling with being and living here and saying all of that outloud just hit me so hard.
I was singing, “They’re finding me out / I’m having my doubts / I’m losing the best of me / Dressed up as myself / to live in the shadow / of who I’m supposed to be,” looking up at the stage and I felt tears rolling down my face but I didn’t care, but then Alex looked my direction and just shot me a smile.
I’m taking that as an “It’s going to be okay,” smile from someone who’s been there and has made his living just fine – and I will never forget this. Add ten years. This song has new meaning for me.
Kiss it all goodbye tonight
You’ve never been more alive
You’re so alive
You’re not afraid to die
and I can see it in your eyes
They’ve never played “Walls” live in their entire career until tonight. I’m just saying they should because it’s powerful.
I built around myself
Keep the Change, You Filthy Animal
You tried a little too hard, now I’m calling that bluff
Big plans are coming undone
Yelling out “BIG PLANS ARE COMING UNDONE” knowing that a brand new decade is on the horizon .. I don’t care what was happening but nobody was tearing down my hope that night, and now that I’m sitting here right now, I can happily tell you that it’s because I witnessed this song live that I still have it.
A Party Song (The Walk of Shame)
Don’t sweat it
Everything is A okay
In a city of fools, I was careful and cool
But they tore me apart like a hurricane
A handful of moments, I wished I could change
But I was carried away
Give me a therapy, I’m a walking travesty
But I’m smiling at everything
Therapy, you were never a friend to me
And you can keep all your misery
Cause a scene like you’re supposed to
They’ll fall asleep without you
You’re lucky if your memory remains
Anyone who has ever heard this song knows how moving and open it is. I used to walk through the halls of my high school with this playing in my headphones while I was going through some of the roughest times. When Alex performs it now though, it isn’t that same kind of pain, and I gotta be honest, when I listen to it now, I don’t feel that pain anymore. Seeing him perform tonight for the first time – he just does it so that the crowd can sing it back. It’s not a sad song anymore. It’s a testament to how we’ve all shared this pain. The entire theater screaming it back at him. It’s a testament to how we’re never alone.
Something’s Gotta Give
Wake me up
Say enough is enough
I’m dying to live
Something’s gotta give
Pull me out
Of this sinking town
I’m dying to live
Something’s gotta give
Six Feet Under the Stars
We can kick it, hang for hours
And just mouth off about the world
And how we know it’s going straight to hell
One of my favorite songs in the whole world.
Everyone crowd surfs during “Dear Maria, Count Me In.” Jack Barakat steps onto the barricade and is suddenly in the middle of the pit of fans, his hands pressed together, looking everyone in the eyes, saying, “Thank you.” Alex Gaskarth takes the mic, and shouts endless phrases of gratitude to the audience.
Ten years is a long time. It’s funny that they were so grateful to us that night, when it’s us who are grateful for them.
Happy New Year to all of you. This blogging community. Some of my sweet friends who actually read this. I hope 2020 is everything you wish for. Sending love.
Maybe it’s not my weekend, but it’s gonna be my year.