The summer we had to learn to hate our favorite band
was also the summer we learned to make our own self-sufficient music. We already knew how to turn any song into a power anthem. We could turn any lyrics into clay in order to sculpt them into our own lives. The day we found out the members of our favorite band were pieces of shit, though, we stopped making heroes out of voice recordings. The best music I know about has always come from the people who love me most, even if they can’t sing to save their lives, or successfully wrap their fingers around the impatient neck of a guitar.
So I say to my friends, You are all my favorite songs, and I mean it every time, and when people ask me what I’m listening to these days, I give them a whole soundtrack:
Kate laughing on their porch. Emily singing along to Alanis Morissette or Meredith Brooks while drumming on the steering wheel. Dorothy performing at a slam while wearing a dress that was once mine. Kat ending every conversation with I love you, no matter what. Troy renaming all their loved ones light. Connor dancing to George Michael in the park. Paige dancing to Walgreens hold music. John’s heart emojis. Joplin talking about Chuck Berry, or wheatgrass, or whales in their kitchen. Linette calling me bub. Brai calling me from a Safeway parking lot in our hometown at 1:00 in the morning. Aedah sending me pictures of the two of us when we were kids, saying look at us now
and look at us now: a bunch of clumsy but beautiful acoustics. A folder full of scratched-up CD’s that still play flawlessly in the car every time. We’re all just trying to be lovesongs that rhyme myself with myself. We know that even if everyone else is right, and punk, and folk-punk, and pop-punk are dead, we aren’t. Not yet, anyway, and not for a long time. The summer we had to learn to hate our favorite band was also the summer of the eternal Spotify queue. The cross-country mixtapes. The living room moshpits. It was the summer we learned to be our own heroes, because we’re more than just voices
and we’re right here.
Lydia Havens is the author of Survive Like the Water (Rising Phoenix Press, 2017). Their work has previously been published or is forthcoming inWinter Tangerine, Cosmonauts Avenue, and Black Napkin Press, among others. Lydia is currently an undergrad at Boise State University, studying Creative Writing and History. They believe in every lizard in the world, the magic of bathtubs, their friends, and you. More at https://www.lydiahavens.com/