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The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

How my dad’s love for music and ‘Boygenius’ helped me stand taller

The Channels Art Pages | STAFF SUGGESTION
Ava Imburgia
From left, Pheobe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus preform as Boygenius at the Rose Bowl Stadium on June 6 in Pasadena, Calif. The trio has been nominated for a handful of Grammys and MTV awards.

I was raised on music, but it took me so long to understand it. 

My dad has the most vibrant music taste of anyone I know, from “Journey,” to Billy Joel, “Rolling Stones,” “Zac Brown Band,” “ELO,” and Kenny Chesney, he made sure that well before I could speak I would know every lyric to his favorite songs. 

I remember driving with my dad in his black pickup truck probably somewhere around 2008, windows down, warm air ruffling my hair, and the sky and trees whipping by. The radio would be turned on, blasting the top country songs of the week. I remember hearing the melodies, the elevating sounds of the guitar, drums, and lead singer’s vocals all blending together creating perfect harmonies. I would listen intently to the words, but I could never seem to make sense of their meaning. 

I remember the gnawing feeling, the angst of the incapability to understand. So I would ask my Dad, after each and every song that played, “What is this one about?”.

It wasn’t until this past year that I feel I can finally understand music. Music is a language spoken by the weary, the broken hearted, the joyful and the melancholic. 

Perhaps it was because I had not lived through a new, more adult, perspective of love and heartbreak and loss until recently, or maybe it is because my brain has simply just developed more; but whatever the case, I can now finally understand the language of music. 

I have lived through difficult months, days, years, but nothing affected me quite like last spring. The months were marked by a different despair; a medley of chronic apathy and derealization mixed with the angst of college relationships and lifestyles, and an overwhelming sense of hopelessness and anxiety.

In March of this year, one of my favorite singers, Phoebe Bridgers, released an album with singers Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker. Separate from their individual careers, the three talents have now released two albums together as a band under the name “Boygenius.”

Their album, “The Record,” was released, in the midst of one of the most chaotic times in my life. I had always found solace in Phoebe Bridgers’ previous music, so I turned out the lights and plugged in my earbuds, eager to hear the new release. 

Within the first three tracks, I was sobbing in the dark of my bedroom. 

In the album, they wrote about the abandonment of love, the agony of growing up, the desperation of never being enough. In the lyrics I saw reflections of my afflictions and found consolation in believing that I wasn’t alone. Their lyrics showed me that the same torments I face, haunt others. Their music became restitution for my pain, I was given hope and perspective to realize I wasn’t so alone in my misery.

The lyrics are beautifully crafted like a poem, ambiguous but direct, open for interpretation but objective all the same. “Always an angel, never a God,” “I can’t hide from you like I hide from myself,” “ Once I took your medication to know what it’s like, now I have to act like I can’t read your mind,” are some of my favorite lines from their album that helped me reconcile with my emotions and experiences. 

In June, my childhood best friend and I went to see them in concert at the Rose Bowl Stadium. The lights went low across the field, and from just 20 yards away I saw their faces illuminate under the stage light. The music washed over me and it may have been the closest feeling to a spiritual experience. I remember closing my eyes and listening to my favorite track play, letting the live vocals flood through me. 

By the time I saw them in concert, everything in my life was starting to mend back together, I had made it out of the pit again. Being at the concert listening to the songs that helped me get through so much was one of the best feelings in the world.

Boygenius’s album helped me through one of the most challenging times of my life and although the period was melancholic and filled with despair, I realized that I finally understood music. I could feel the emotion behind the words, and singing along became more than just following a tune. 

I’ve come to learn that experiences that break you down are inevitable, but ultimately, you will get back up and realize you are standing a little taller,  and a little stronger than before. 

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