Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Being okay about things ending

So in the second week of January, my very favourite band Anberlin posted this video to their twitter feed:

Blogger is giving me grief with embedding the video, but at the very least, hopefully, the link is live. Go click it. You'll need to know what's in it for context.


I have very clear memories of the first viewing of the video, because it instilled a great feeling of sadness, and I wasn't able to indulge in that sadness for very long, because it was either the second or the third day of WAVE, which is my church's week-long kids club, and I had to get there and be geared up to work with kids from 7:45am. So the case of the sads went into the back of the head, and I went back to being a magician for four-year old kids.

But there was this feeling that was returned to later - processing in entirety that my very favourite band was finishing, and this was their last year. There was some consolation in knowing there was going to be one more album published, and one more world tour, so odds were high that I'd get to see them again, but still.

Anberlin was ENDING.

Now, this was all stuff that happened at the start of the year, my copy of Lowborn, the last album, arrived on Monday. It's still sitting on my couch, inside the packaging, because I want to listen to it properly - with enough time to sit and just listen through, once or twice, and then play it over and over again, and then go back to my moderate-rotation music. I don't have a lot of time this week, and suspect I'll be a useless pile of emotions afterwards anyway. Knowing that this is the last to hear from their recorded efforts.

"If I don't open it, maybe it won't end."
But then, I have since realised that this was a thing I'd been thinking through last year, and I'm grateful for the way Anberlin have chosen to finish - a lot of bands you see go through fights, or wander into the territory of the Infinite Hiatus, and it's sad to see something you loved so much tear itself to pieces.

I had been aware that they wouldn't be able to produce music forever, and I wouldn't want them to - it's all very well to spend all your time touring as young adults, but the guys have been producing music for twelve years. They started out as teenagers and twenty-somethings, and they're all married, with families of varying sizes now. Their wives and kids (if they have kids. I don't know.) deserve to have them around the house more often.

Their music has meant a lot to me not just because of the style, or the sound, or the lyrics, but because they were introduced to me when I was trying to figure out who I was, asking a lot of the same questions and working through a lot of the same problems presented in their songs. They covered love, loss, confusion, euphoria, blame, depression, and a bunch of other things. I spent as many evenings being useless on my bedroom floor as days spent lost in the heady emotions of joy listening to their music. And it wasn't just these perspectives that helped - knowing that the members of the band profess the same faith is pretty cool. It means when they say 'hope' that I know we're on the same page in terms of understanding.

The interest in their music didn't just leach into helping me understand the chiaroscuro of life either. I mean, it helped a lot, because I'd not been taught any other coping mechanisms, or even what to do on the bad days aside from mope. Anyway.

Their music has been hugely influential in the stuff I write and make - if you've been following my blog for a while, you might have seen a post detailing an entire body of work (in film photography) built around the album Cities, for example. It didn't stop there - I'm fairly certain that the music video for The Unwinding Cable Car got referenced as an inspiration source at least once a semester during my uni degree.

So, given that you can now see a couple of reasons why I like their music, you might be able to see why I was a bit sad about them ending. I guess, it's been understanding that there's a time and a season for everything, that helps. All things end, sooner or later. It's how they end that's important.

And I think Anberlin have done a good job of that.

They could have kept on even after most of the band left, having the name of the band eventually equate to one guy. They could have dropped into obscurity, vanishing without a word or a trace. They could have stretched things out until it was obviously more about the money than the love of music. But they didn't. They've chosen a time and a place, and you can tell that they're keen to see us all off in style and with love.
So while I'm sad, seeing that things are happening in this way is alright. It's garnered a huge amount of respect in my book (not that they need that, but hey), and I want to wish them the best in the future.

You hear that, guys?

Dear Steven, Joey, Chris, Deon, and Nate,
Thank you for having such a positive impact on my life, and the lives of others, with your music.
You're gonna be missed by a lot of people, myself included, but that's okay. You got things going on in your lives aside from Anberlin, and it's cool that you're choosing to pursue those things now. I hope that they're good, and fun, and that you get to be a blessing to the people around you because of your involvement.
Thank you for your kindness to us as your fans. Thank you for twelve years and seven albums of excellence. I wasn't there for the beginning, but I'll be there at the end.
See you in September.
Stay cool.
From Brooke.

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