Sad music makes me happy. Most people can’t wrap their head around that notion, but it’s true.
My Sad Girl story starts in high school. New Hampshire. Early 2000’s. Wearing studded belts and sneaking out to go see Taking Back Sunday. The hairs on the back of my neck raising when I heard Something Corporate play ‘Konstantine’ during their opener for Yellowcard. Posting Dashboard Confessional lyrics in 90% of my AIM away messages which seemed like a good idea at the time. Drinking shitty beer in cul-de-sacs with my friends; listening to Panic! At The Disco and ‘From Under The Cork Tree’ on repeat. I think I watched the music video for ‘I Miss You’ once a day at least. I was peak emo and it was glorious.
(16 year old, teen angst Madison in my sisters dorm room.)
After my first big soul crushing heartbreak I found Chiodos. I remember seeing Craig and the boys play a tiny venue off of Main Street in Nashua, NH. Feeling fucked up was the price of entry and it felt so good to stand in a room full of people going through their own shit. Every scream made my cold, black heart race. I was home.
When my parents got divorced I found Atreyu and then I got a kitten and gave him the same name. He’s a real asshole. Now if only he could sing while playing the drums.
Then came Senses Fail, Silverstein, A Day to Remember, The Used, Brand New, Thrice and mother fuckin’ UNDEROATH.
I got sunburnt in parking lots every summer with my sister at Warped Tour and wore a t-shirt that said “I Hate Myself and I Want to Die” to Taste of Chaos which looking back was probably a mistake.
(Okay this is kind of cute actually. IMA BUY IT.)
And then I met a boy who listened to Nirvana, Kings of Leon, The Shins, Led Zeppelin, Arcade Fire, The Stones and Radiohead. I fell madly in love with him and with Kurt Cobain and Caleb Followill and Alanis and Thom Yorke and Elliott Smith and Eddie and Jerry and Stevie Nicks and Anthony Kiedis and all the rest of them. My musical tastes shifted, but the sullen undertones were always there.
I went through a hippie phase, an EDM sunglasses indoors phase, a hip-hop phase after phase after phase. I’ve had a thousand different versions of myself.
And then I met Danae.
We went to grad school together in Atlanta and I remember listening to Taking Back Sunday in her car and having it all come back to me in that moment. I had stopped listening to pop punk, but just because I stopped listening didn’t mean all the bands I loved stopped making music. I had a lot to catch up on.
We got a job together as a creative team at an ad agency, moved to Chicago in 2014 and discovered a little place called Beauty Bar and Emo vs. Pop Punk night every Sunday. Just like that, I was home again.
(Me and Danae at Emo vs. Pop Punk Night @ the most beautiful bar in all the land.)
One night in early 2017 when we were out at Beauty Bar, we met a girl named Lola and a guy named Ryan. There was an immediate connection there. I thought I was going to end up falling for Ryan, but I fell for Lola instead. We’ve talked every day since we met and she’s quickly become one of my favorite people in the whole world. Those soul connections, man. Crazy.
The last few years have been concert after concert with Danae. Warped Tour, Riot Fest. You name it, we’re there. Two became three when Danae met her boyfriend, William. And then Lola and Ryan came along. We’ve got our PPP crew and I love it so fucking much.
(Me, Danae and Lola @ Dashboard for the 10,000th time, March 2017. Chris Carrabba, WE LOVE YOU.)
I still love all my favorites, but my playlist has expanded tenfold.
We’ve got the Chicago scene: Real Friends, Knuckle Puck, Sleep On It, Cupcheck, Ship Captain Crew.
The up–and-comers: Capstan, Moose Blood, Boston Manor, Turnover, Northbound.
And the hot list: The Story So Far, Have Mercy, State Champs, Mayday Parade, Neck Deep, Bayside, Our Last Night, Transit + so so many more.
The pop punk cup is overflowing with good music right now. We are so damn blessed.
The emo/pop punk scene is alive and well. I came back for nostalgia and fell in love all over again. I traded my studded belts for a vegan leather jacket and I’ll never ever leave again. Oh and I still post Dashboard lyrics on Twitter every now and then.
Once a Sad Girl, always a Sad Girl.
For more on the Sad Girl life, check out https://illinoissadgirls.wordpress.com/