It’s Not About Forcing Happiness

May, 01 2013

It’s not about forcing happiness; it’s about not letting sadness win. – The Wonder Years

What track describes your life right now? For me, it’s ‘Local Man Ruins Everything’ by The Wonder Years. Give it a listen or better still, go buy it. (It’s cool, I’ll be here when you get back.)

This song in particular really stood out to me when I first heard it, and the end of the chorus has kind of become a slogan for Heads Above The Waves.

As someone who used to self-harm, and having spoken to a whole bunch of amazing people who’ve been through the same thing, it’s not just something you can straight away give up. It won’t happen overnight, and it won’t happen unless you’re ready to. If you force happiness, then it’s insincere, and ultimately, won’t last.

But not letting sadness win? It’s about finding the little triumphs in life, realising that what you’re going through is only one part of your life. It doesn’t have to define you, and it definitely doesn’t have to destroy you.

The start of the chorus also rings true for me, and for the whole of Heads Above The Waves:

I’m not a self help book, I’m just a fucked up kid.

(Sorry about the language, Mum.) But it’s true. I certainly don’t have all the answers, and Heads Above The Waves doesn’t pretend to have the be all and end all of advice. I’m just a fucked up kid. But I’ve learned to accept that I’m not perfect, and just roll with it. I guess everything that I went through, happened for the reason of making Heads Above The Waves a thing. Sharing that pop-punk literally saved my life might just do the same for someone else. It might not be your thing. But it just might be.

I’ve always liked this band. Musically, I just dig the sound they make. It’s up tempo, there’s guitars and drums all over the place, and they’re not afraid to try new things. The album “Suburbia, I’ve Given You All, And Now I’m Nothing” has 3 tracks: ‘Suburbia’, ‘I’ve Given You All’, and ‘And Now I’m Nothing’, spread out across the album, but all of which seem to lead on from one another. It’s stuff like that I get proper excited about (I’m a bit of a music geek; any and all shinfo about bands is welcome & recycled).

But what really gets me, on every single track is the lyrics. Soupy Campbell just has this plain talking way of writing lyrics, in a really honest and sickeningly simple way. Something I’ve tried numerous times to mimic, but just can’t pull it off. The band describe themselves as “realistic pop-punk” and I think that pretty much hits the nail on the head. In their second album ‘The Upsides’, Soupy writes some liner notes about the theme of the album:

I decided then that it wasn’t okay to be this defeated at twenty-three… The whole world wants you to be miserable. It wants you to put your head down, sigh to yourself and give up on being happy, and I know just as well as anyone that sometimes, giving up seems like the only option, but if you take one thing from this record, I hope it’s this: Don’t give those mother-fuckers an inch. Stand your ground every chance you get because everybody deserves a chance to be happy.

That’s so true! Go give The Wonder Years a spin. I can’t recommend them enough.

– Si

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