Summer and good music go hand in hand. Just think: every year between June and August, there are countless discussions both publicly on talk shows and privately amongst friends and families about what Top 40's hit will become that year's Song of the Summer.
This summer, Spotify made me a Your Summer Rewind playlist with all of my absolute favorite music from summers past and it got me thinking a few things. The first was, obviously, "wow I have great taste in music go me," and the second, somehow not egotistical at all (if you can believe it) was "I wonder where my favorite bands are now...."
When I was 16, I was big on the alternative pop punk indie rock teeny bop sho-op scene and I was one of those "obsessive" and "aggressive" fans. I shoved my way up to barriers, stood on barriers until I was almost kicked out, and broke through police barriers one time in a well thought out but never executed plan to meet the band. I loved the bands I listened to back then with such a fierce fervor then that I wonder where it all went now.
In the spirit of music in the summer, I decided to look at 6 different bands I loved when I was 16 and ask the question: where are they now?
Panic! At The Disco
When I was 11, I was prematurely going through my goth phase and no, I will not elaborate more on that. But during that year, I heard Panic!'s signature song "I Write Sins Not Tragedies" and before it was over, I was obsessed. It's fair to say that Panic! and I grew up side by side: with each of their albums, the band rebrands themselves and their sound, and each new sound matched the stages I was going through in my life.
When I first found the band, there were four members. When I was 16, there were only two. Now, the band is just another name for frontman Brendon Urie, the heartthrob of my adolescence. The band just released their sixth studio album this month and are going back out on tour. But, arguably, my favorite role that I've ever seen Brendon Urie in was not when he had the flu at the concert I went to back when I was 15 and on the precipice of truly understanding life beyond the scope of a teenager's mind and he still sang and I truly felt that God was in that Chili's that not.
It was seeing him onstage in Kinky Boots as Charlie Price. My mom turned to me in the middle of the show and said, "I get it now. I think I'm in love with Brendon Urie."
When I was sophomore in high school I saw Panic! live in concert (obviously making my entire life). It was right before my sixteenth birthday and I thought life couldn't get any better.
And then I discovered X Ambassadors.
They were one of the two opening acts, the first of which none of my friends or I could stand. When X Ambassadors came out after, we were understandably weary until a group of girls next to us told us they were unbelievably good. And they were. This was pre-"Renegades" so they had never experienced any form of fame aside from being invited on this tour, and they were so kind and humble when we met them after and told them we now loved their music.
I stopped listening to X Ambassadors after they released their song for the movie "Me Before You." Everything they released began to sound too contrived and boring. The two brothers are still in the band, but the once four piece has become a three person band. They're still releasing music, but I would rather their original EPs any day.
5 Seconds of Summer
Listen, there is a section of my heart dedicated to this band. I was there at the very start when they did covers on YouTube and opened for One Direction and were the pop punk teenage boys of my dreams. I've seen them perform twice now, once after taking a 2 am train to New York City to see them perform at 8 am on Good Morning America in Central Park (16 year old me was one of those teenage girls newspapers compared to the Beatles' fans).
Now, the band has released what is my current favorite album and has grown up alongside of me. Once nerdy and quirky guys (qualities which were glorified during the height of 1D's teenage years), they have glo-ed up harder than anyone I know, including myself! And, in 16 Year Old Emily's honor, I already have tickets to see them in Stockholm during my semester abroad. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
In full honest, my love for The Griswolds never came close to what I felt for some of the other bands on this list. But according to my Summer Rewind mix, I used to listen to them a lot. I don't know any of their names or their backstory or even if the top photo is of them (I'm pretty sure it is....)?
Regardless, I've stopped listening to the Griswolds new music, but I'll always return to their song "Beware the Dog" because good bops are sometimes hard to find these days.
Wherever you are, whoever you are Griswolds, I hope you're doing well.
It's a well known fact that when I need to shut out the world and write a paper or power through studying or just be alone, I listen to The 1975's deluxe first album on auto replay. It's just an Emily Factoid. The 1975 is one of those bands that really resonated with a pop punk post goth (still not talking about it) Former Me when she found them and, much like with P!ATD, has grown and evolved with my personal growth and development.
Now, the band's newest single off their third album is a lot boppy-er while remaining very heavy lyrically. The prospect of what's to come next with their new work is both exciting but nerve racking.
This wound is still fresh. If you think I'm dramatic, I am, but besides that, think of how millions of people across the entire world felt when the Beatles broke up, divide by four than add in the now quantified sensation of loss per band member one more time (for Zayn Malik ☝️) and that's how much it hurt to lose One Direction!!!
We won't go into too many details because I already have repeatedly, but essentially the members of One Direction are all doing fine on their own and, aside from Harry and Liam when he wants attention and performs "History" (a questionable at best solo concert cover), they all seem more than happy to grow away from their Simon Cowell Produced™️ roots.
It's fine, I'm fine, we're all fine!