I very rarely follow bands anymore. Spotify, in its digital music revolution has changed the way that a lot of people listen to music, allowing them to make playlists based on sound or genre or whatever other category they can come up with. And so I’ve created playlists of songs based on vibe, following one good song to another, completely oblivious to the actual artists playing them. I know that’s not how it’s supposed to work exactly, but since I listen to music based on my mood it kind of works for me.
That said, every once in a while an artist will grab my attention. It happens rarely, but when it does, I kind of fall in love with everything about that one artists’ work. I fell hard for the entire Imagine Dragons album, got stuck on a band called Parachute for a while, and enjoyed listening to the collective works of Bastille. Sometimes it’s the beat that catches me, sometimes it’s the vocals, but in the case of Paradise Fears, it was mostly the lyrics that I fell in love with.
The band formed as a group of high school friends from South Dakota. They deferred college to record their first album, “Yours Truly” and gained recognition by following bands on tours and selling their CDs to fans waiting in line. Eventually they got picked up by one of the bands they followed, All Time Low, and began performing as an opening act in tours around the country. Their EP “Battle Scars” peaked at number 2 on the US iTunes Alternative Chart in June of 2013 and their next album will be released with Nashville label DigSin in early 2015.
I think I stumbled across them on the discovery part of the Spotify website. One song played, I loved it, so I clicked to hear more. And every song was exactly what I wanted to hear. Their lyrics have this way about them for me, putting words to feelings that I couldn’t quite figure out.
And that’s how I know its good music.
Their song “Battle Scars” became my anthem for like a month. It got me through my job interviews and graduation. Every time I felt overwhelmed or crushed, I played this song to get my head back in the game.
This is an anthem for the homesick, for the beaten,
The lost, the broke, the defeated.
A song for the heartsick, for the standbys,
Living life in the shadow of a goodbye.
Do you remember when we learned how to fly?
We’d play make-believe; we were young and had time on our side.
You’re stuck on the ground,
Got lost, can’t be found.
Just remember that you’re still alive.
I’ll carry you home.
No, you’re not alone.
Keep marching on,
This is worth fighting for,
You know we’ve all got battle scars.
You’ve had enough,
But just don’t give up.
Stick to your guns
You are worth fighting for.
You know we’ve all got battle scars.
Keep marching on.
-“Battle Scars” by Paradise Fears
Recently I’ve fallen for their song “Who You Are.” I speaks to me right now because sometimes I feel like I’m not sure. It’s not that I have hardships specifically, but when you’re stuck in a routine it can be just as curious a question. Why keep doing the things that I’m doing? The lyrics are about a woman explaining what keeps her going after working two jobs, having kids, and being broken up with. She has the weight of her world on her shoulders, but to her its “not so tough.”
I said, what keeps you going?
What keeps you waking up?
She just smiles and shrugs her shoulders and says,
You know, it’s not so tough.
‘Cause if there’s one thing in life that I’ve learned so far
It’s that we’re all a little stronger than we think we are
And you can bend a little farther
Or you can stay just how you are
Just how you are.
-“Who You Are” by Paradise Fears
I’m not an expert in music by any stretch of the imagination. But I know what I like and I like Paradise Fears. (Plus, this is my blog and I get to talk about whatever I want.) So if you haven’t heard their music before, I highly recommend that you check them out. Their last EP is available for free to stream on Spotify and just yesterday they released a brand new single called “Who We Were With.”