Music Saved My Life: Dance Gavin Dance
When I was first pitched the concept of a series on albums that "saved our lives" I was instantly excited. The whole reason I originally wanted to become involved in the music industry was based on this concept. Every single person has been influenced and has had their life changed by music.
I was then met with dread. How could I possibly choose the one album that I deem worthy enough to have changed my life more so than any other album? I started my search with albums that were significant to me in my middle school and high school years, as those were the albums that were there for me when I was the most vulnerable. Then it became the thought of what I defined as saving my life. With this on the back of my mind, I mindlessly scrolled through Facebook to realize that a hometown band I never actually got to see live while living in Sacramento was playing on my birthday this year, and it became obvious to me that I would have to choose Dance Gavin Dance's album Happiness.
Happiness was released in 2009 by Rise Records. An experimental post hardcore album, that if anything is an album full of catchy danceable carefree beats mixed with lyricism on drugs and depression, I first came upon the album by being handed a copy at my first ever Vans Warped Tour at the age of 13 (during my very vulnerable scene kid phase). The album art is what really drew me in, along with the fact that there was an artist on Rise Records from my hometown of Sacramento. From there on this album and Dance Gavin Dance in general would continue to follow me as I grew older.
My Senior year of high school is when this album really took shape for me. In the phase of post high school graduation excitement, in waiting for your life to finally start, this is the album that brought my friends and I together. This album to me is summer days in California sitting in backyards, along the river, in cars, getting high off Strawberry Swisher blunts and drinking shitty whiskey (usually Jack Daniels or Fireball).
After that summer, I moved to Washington, alone, to attend Washington State University where I knew absolutely no one. As a fairly quiet and reserved person, it's quite terrifying moving two states away and not knowing anyone. I always had Happiness though, to instantly whisk me away back to California, back to kick backs with my close friends.
To this day, I still get homesick, and I still miss my second family back home, and to this day when this happens, I still listen to Happiness and reminisce on what "happiness" truly is for me. When I go back home for vacations or holidays, although our hang out sessions are much more mature than they were back then, this album is still there, Strawberry Swishers are still there, and we are all still there.
It might not be the dramatic life changing moment in which an album suddenly saved my life, but to me this album is my life because to me my friends live within this album, my home lives within this album, and I live within this album.
Listen to Dance Gavin Dance's Happiness here (or here if you're on mobile).