This is me, circa 2005.
The fact that that was nearly 10 years ago weirds me out. I don't want to talk about it.
But what is significant about this photo is not the fact that it was my first QuikTrip experience after being told several times it is The Gas Station to End All Gas Stations. (That’s true, by the way.) It’s the shirt I’m wearing.
One of my best friends brought it back for me from Warped Tour (oh, 2005). I’m wearing it because I went to see the band that night — Mae, the makers of what might just be my favorite album of all time: The Everglow.
I’m not saying it’s critically acclaimed or was robbed of a Grammy nomination or that Mae should have been the next Coldplay or U2. I’m just saying it’s very near and dear to my heart.
I’m not sure if it’s the time period in which I listened to it most, or the actual songs — most likely some combination of both — but as that hammer strikes that piano string — the first, deep, bellowing note of “We’re So Far Away" — I feel content. It’s partly nostalgia, I admit, but partly just a beautiful song.
The Everglow is kind of like a storybook. The cover art is childlike and whimsical, and the album begins and ends with a little narration opening and closing the story. It’s a journey, led by a fearless trio of piano and guitar and a nasal-y misunderstood 20-something. It’s happy and sad and beautiful and hilariously dramatic, as all “emo” bands are. The Everglow is best as a whole.
You probably think I’m being ridiculous. It’s an album made by a group signed to Tooth & Nail Records in 2005. They wore black and probably girls jeans (this was before the days of skinny jeans) and performed at Warped Tour.
But for me, The Everglow is a piece of my heart. It’s one of the only albums I go back to over and over again.
I own the real-live CD, but it had gotten too scratched up from months on rotation in my car CD player (I didn’t have one of those fancy 6-cd-changers) and then traveling from dorm room to apartment to townhouse throughout college. When I realized it skipped far too many times to be listenable anymore, I broke down and re-bought it on iTunes a few years ago. It’s the only album I’ve paid for twice.
I still enjoy it now as much as I did as a senior in high school and listen to it on the reg. If I’m stressed, or I can’t think of anything else to listen to, or I just need something happy, I go to this album.
This post was prompted by the fact that Mae is doing a tour starting in 2015 in which they will perform The Everglow top to bottom. I KNOW I KNOW. I can’t wait. Because I am going. Even if I have to fly to Philadelphia, which is one of only three dates they have released so far.
Everyone has an album like this, right? What’s yours?