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5 Musical Artists That Changed My Life Through Their Lyrics

Growing up, I never thought I would be much of a writer. Because of my ADHD, it was absolutely impossible for me to sit and focus on something for five minutes, let alone hours. I always dreaded English class in fear of being forced to write about this or that. And don’t get me wrong, I was a decent writer from a young age, and actually won many writing competitions throughout elementary school, but I never really enjoyed it. I only entered the competitions because my teachers always wanted me to, and I hate letting people down.

The indifference I had towards writing continued throughout middle school, and it wasn’t until my freshman year of high school that my attitude really did change. I really got my start writing lyrics. My parents had gone through a particularly nasty divorce and music became my outlet. I’ve since learned that this was a very good thing for me. Music kept me grounded and showed me that the world is beautiful.

 

I fell in love with people’s words, and therefore, fell in love with life.

 

There are five bands/artists/songwriters that were the most influential in my discovery of myself and how I fit into the world. My hope is that someone will read this article and discover their next favorite song, album or band. Maybe they’ll change you too.

 

1. Ryan Ross

Ross was the lead guitarist and main songwriter for Panic! at the Disco — a band that I have listened to for years — before he left in 2009. My favorite work of his was done on the album Pretty. Odd., which I consider my favorite album in existence. I like to go and read his poems when I’m having writer’s block, and I never fail to find something new hidden somewhere in his works to give me some inspiration.

This is an excerpt from the song “She Had The World”:

She held the world upon a string
But she didn’t ever hold me
Spun the stars on her fingernails
But it never made her happy
Cause she couldn’t ever have me
She said she’d won the world at a carnival
But she could never win me
Cause she couldn’t ever catch me

I, I know why
Because when I look in her eyes
I just see the sky

 

And this is my favorite of his old Live Journal posts:

The moon bred new Atlantic life tonight.the salt burned you right out of my eyes.and secrets we’re not proud of were taken with the tide. We were all newborns with blurred vision and no sense of direction.

Today I saw cancer, cigarettes and shortness of breath. this is why I walk to the ocean.swim with jellyfish.I may never get this chance again. this is why if you want to kiss you should kiss. If you want to cry you should cry, and if you want to live you should live. You don’t have to love me. You already did. At least enough to keep me smiling from South Carolina to Virginia.it’s for lovers (orjustfriends) This is why I do it.

-Ryan Ross (livejournal)

6-25-06 01:21:28

 

Songs to listen to: 

  • “But It’s Better If You Do”
  • “Northern Downpour”
  • “Do You Know What I’m Seeing?”

 

2. Lynn Gunn (PVRIS)

I discovered PVRIS nearly two years ago when a friend of mine recommended them. I was hooked immediately, and Gunn has since become such a huge role model for my writing. I met the band back in May 2016, and they are so kind and down to Earth. She takes writing about love to another level, adding gloomy and melancholy touches to her lyrics.

My favorite PVRIS song is “St. Patrick”. Here is an excerpt:

Transparent hands
Were at my neck, at my neck, at my
Ooh but I love the way
You let me breathe instead, breathe instead

Take in your chemicals
(that make me cling to you, cling to you)
You are a miracle
(I gotta stay with you, stay with you)
And I’m not spiritual
(but please stay)
‘Cause you’re a glimpse of bliss
A little taste of heaven

 

Songs to listen to: 

  • “Waking up” (Acoustic)
  • “Mirrors”
  • “Smoke”

 

3. Mayday Parade

I’m not exactly sure how or when I came to know about these guys. It seems like I just have always known they existed. They are my favorite to listen to when I feel like I’m struggling for a purpose. The album A Lesson In Romantics is my favorite. Honestly, you really have to listen to them to understand why I think so highly of this band.

Here is an excerpt of the song “You Be The Anchor That Keeps My Feet On The Ground, I’ll Be The Wings That Keep Your Heart In The Clouds”:

I’ll be here by the ocean
Just waiting for proof that there’s sunsets and silhouette dreams
All my sand castles fall like the ashes of cigarettes
And every wave drags me to sea
I could stand here for hours
Just to ask God the question, “Is everyone here make-believe?”
With a tear in His voice, He says, “Son, that’s the question.”
Does this deafening silence mean nothing to no one but me?

And if you sing to me sweet until then
I may never sail Virginia again.
And as this current moves slow for me
This much you must know: we’ll meet again
And I’ll have you know I’m scared to death

 

Songs to listen to: 

  • “Jersey”
  • “Jamie All Over”
  • “Terrible Things”

 

4. Ryan O’Neal (Sleeping At Last)

I learned about Sleeping At Last through a mutual follower on Twitter who posted a playlist containing his song “Neptune”. O’Neal uses a lot of amazing imagery and soothing sounds. I like to listen to his music when I am winding down for the day. His words always give me a feeling of how small we really are, and how infinite the universe is.

This is an excerpt from his song “Saturn”:

You taught me the courage of stars before you left.
How light carries on endlessly, even after death.
With shortness of breath, you explained the infinite.
How rare and beautiful it is to even exist.

I couldn’t help but ask
For you to say it all again.
I tried to write it down
But I could never find a pen.
I’d give anything to hear
You say it one more time,
That the universe was made
Just to be seen by my eyes.

 

Songs to listen to: 

  • “Saturn”
  • “The Ink from Books”
  • “In The Embers”

 

5. Fall Out Boy

I grew up on Fall Out Boy’s music. My parents were in their young twenties in the 2000’s, so they were still in their rebellious teenage mindset. I’ve been singing along to their songs for as long as I can remember, along with many other punk bands, but to this day I consider them my favorite because of their exceptional songwriting skills.

This is an excerpt from “The (Shipped) Gold Standard”:

Sometimes I wanna quit this all and become an accountant now
But I’m no good at math and besides the dollar is down
Plant palm trees on Lake Michigan before it gets cold
I gotta feel the wind chill again before I get old

I wanna scream ‘I love you’ from the top of my lungs
But I’m afraid that someone else will hear me

You can only blame your problems on the world for so long
Before it all becomes the same old song
As soon as we hit the hospital I know we’re gonna leave this town
And get new passports and get get get get get out now

All the Yes men said ‘no comment’
My mouth got going the wrong way and all the calls started snowing
The time my dad caught me a horse shoe crab
And I asked him if throwing it back into the sea would bring our luck back

 

Songs to listen to: 

  • “Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes”
  • “The Take Over, The Breaks Over”
  • “The Patron Saint Of Liars And Fakes”

 

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Written By

Kaitlyn is a 17 year old high school student from Kentucky. She is a member of her school's AcCapella choir and plays on her school's softball team. She enjoys kayaking, going to concerts, collecting LP vinyls, and arguing with anyone willing to give her a good debate. You can find her on instagram (@magickaitx) and on twitter (@kaitnicofw)

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