Forever Strong recently released a two track ep, entitled “Spring EP”. We love it. It’s wonderful. You will love it. The band is currently in the middle of a Midwest tour. We asked Ryan to go in depth on what each track was about. Before you read the following, head to:
and give the songs a listen. Then read along! Enjoy!
While playing this song live, I often say, “2016 really sucked, so I wrote a song about it,” but as every emo soul knows, there’s so much more to it than that.
This song was the first pure collaborative effort between all four members of Forever Strong. Whereas most of our other songs existed as solo material, or before we were a four-piece, this began with a bouncy guitar riff that Greg had shown me. It came together as this upbeat song with underlying aggression woven into the instrumentation. The development of the music was very organic, and the skeleton of the song came together in practically one sitting.
When it came time for lyrics Greg had written a couple pages of material that he suggested we use. The lyrics were ripe with cynicism and fear of the future, as well as a struggle to maintain any sort of happiness in the present. I tend to try and write with an overarching theme of hopefulness, even in the face of depression and despair. So I took Greg’s lyrics and combined them with my own recent experiences.
The past year had been filled with long-term friendships being altered, and even severed. I had faced more adversity and mental pain than I ever had before. I saw loved ones struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts. I saw people I had known for over a decade manipulate everyone around them and burn every bridge imaginable. I had this fear that I could be stuck in this same town and succumb to the same vices that so many of my peers have. But I had this thought. This situation right now sucks, but this isn’t going to define my life. I chose to stop listening to my brain or my surroundings when they would say “This is where you’re meant to be. Right here. Get used to this, because it doesn’t get better”. I responded with the chorus of 2016,
The phrase “pessimistic wasted reverie” really resonated with me, because I always get stuck in these daydreams, and sometimes they’re really cynical, but that’s a waste of a daydream. I should be setting goals and accepting the love that surrounds me. The song ends with a bridge of dueling vocals. I absolutely love old school Brand New and Taking Back Sunday, so I wanted to incorporate a similar style into this song. While the song climaxes with these cries of desperation, we revert back to that happy intro riff as a reminder that things do resolve, and that the life we live is ours, and we get to choose how we live it. I think that’s pretty great.
This is a very old song. I had written this song in 2014 when I was graduating college, and I was at a social event with a lot of the seniors that I knew. I was standing around with these people that I’ve spent pretty significant amounts of time with for the past four years, yet I was by myself, watching other people in circles chat and laugh and smile. These people were some of my closest friends, but I felt so detached and uncomfortable at that point in time. I would walk up to a group of people, and try to get involved in the conversation, but it felt very forced. In the midst of my friends, I felt like I was the only person on a space station. It was an irrational feeling, but my social anxiety comes in waves and prevents me from interacting how I want. It made me depressed.
I went home and began writing what seemed like a journal entry, but my mind thinks in phrases, and a song emerged. Every single line in this song was a legitimate thought that I had. The chorus may have the cute little phrase, “I’m a lone ranger at the space station,” but this is the furthest thing from a cutesy pop rock song. I always felt like I was involved in so many “cool” moments in my social circle in college, but I didn’t ever feel like I was too close to the center of it (hence the line “My Kodak moments never involve me”).
Perhaps my favorite segment of lyrics in this song comes in the first verse. “These people are having the greatest time, but I prefer to stay inside my mind. And think of all the places I’d rather be. Roughly somewhere between the land and the sea.” This line encapsulates the message of the entire song. Everyone around me is having a good time, and I’m also present, experiencing this, but my mind prevents me from feeling the same way. I get stuck inside my thoughts, and I’d rather be on this extremely fine line between reality and fantasy.
When I presented this song to the band, we tried to keep it simple, driving, and full of energy. We had played it so much that we began to get tired of it, but then becoming a four-piece changed everything. We switched off vocals between Greg, Daniel, and myself, and added a tempo change in the last chorus. We wanted to keep this song fun, despite the overwhelming theme of anxiety. Much like 2016, it’s a song that thrives on uplifting music to make the content much more digestible.
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