Realizing what Neon Trees actually Means to Me

Last week I went to a Neon Trees concert and I realized they are like a long-distance best friend. The special kind that can go years and years without talking, but never miss a beat the moment they are back together.

Confused? Let me explain.

I am a Fall Out Boy girl (yes I’m talking about another band in a special post about a band, but stick with me). I love Fall Out Boy! Have since high school. Anyone you ask will tell you Fall Out Boy is my favorite band. If you ask me, they will be the first band that comes to mind. I own all their albums and pre-order everything they put out. I know their history, the words to every song and the album it was on. I love them.

Of course, as a person who loves music, Fall Out Boy isn’t my only favorite band. Depending on what I’m going through, and what kind of music I’m currently listening to most (country, indie, emo…), other bands rotate in and out my top 5. Right now I’m really loving Durry. Last year when I was really into country music Walker Hayes and Old Dominion would have been on my favorites list. While I was living in Hawaii I went through a Marianas Trench and Bryce Vine phase (very different I know). Motion City Soundtrack, I regularly will list them as a favorite.

My point is, these are bands I talk about, from Fall Out Boy – the band forever at the top – to the other bands that I always enjoy but their position on my top 5 may vary depending on how I feel.

Then there is Neon Trees (see we’re back). I have spent the last seven days thinking basically non-stop about them, about how I feel about them, and why they are so important to me. And looking back on everything, it makes total sense why they mean this much to me and I am blown away that it took this long for me to realize it.

Getting confused again? Let’s start at the beginning.

Like a lot of people, I discovered Neon Trees with “Animal.” I loved the song. I loved Tyler Glenn and his adorable mohawk!

It’s the first album, my now husband ever got for me. I remember sitting on my floor, listening to every song and loving every minute of Habits.

Then Picture Show came out and that was the first time I saw them live. It was actually the first time I ever won anything too. I won tickets to see them at the Red Bull Sound Space from KROQ. It was a tiny intimate show and it was so much fun! I still have the heart-shaped sunglasses they gave us during the show.

Then came Pop Psychology.

2014, the year Pop Psychology came out, and the years following were rough for me. In 2014 I graduated from college (and a year to the date I would basically be homeless). At this time the problems at home and with the rest of my family were at an all-time high. I was struggling personally with my physical health and my weight and my mental health. My now husband had just enlisted in the military. There was a lot happening around this time and things would only get worse and more chaotic as the year went on, but Pop Psychology (and the rest of the Neon Trees catalog) really helped get me through it.

During this time Neon Trees helped save my life probably. They were my happy music. I hadn’t thought about it until this week, probably because I try to avoid thinking about this time in my life if I can, but I can vividly remember turning on Pop Psychology in my kitchen when I was home alone and having a dance party with my Tickle.

I don’t dance…almost never dance. And for the most part, I never ever dance in front of people. My bestest of friends have probably never seen me dance, especially as an adult. But these dance parties were my lifesavers.

I would turn the music up as loud as I could, oftentimes in tears and I would just start screaming the lyrics at the top of my lungs and dancing all around the kitchen. Tickle, probably worried about my sanity, would usually be watching me, but as soon as I would acknowledge her she would start to wag her stub and dance around in circles with me.

Just writing about this makes me both smile and choke up at the same time. Those nights were hard. I was alone and scared, and I had no idea what I was doing, but Neon Trees got me through it.

Last week, at the Neon Trees concert all those feelings (the good and inspiring and comforting ones) from those late-night dance parties with my furbaby came flooding back to me. I danced (shocking), and screamed the lyrics at the top of my lungs. I realized I knew all the words to every song (at least the older ones, I haven’t done a great job of keeping up with them post-Pop Psychology, although I did know several of the newer singles) even though I really hadn’t listened to them much over the past few years. I realized their music still gives me that same relief it did all those years ago and that Neon Trees is still my happy music.

And I realized, even if it took a live show and some self-reflection, Neon Trees is a favorite band of mine, but not in the traditional way. Neon Trees is my favorite band, like a long-distance best friend (reference back to my first paragraph). The luckiest of us have those best friends that we can go weeks or months, sometimes even years without talking to, but fall right back into place with them the minute we see them. Those same best friends, that although we don’t talk to them every day or even every week or month, we know that when we need them they would be there for us in a heartbeat. They are the best friends you can call at 3 am and they wouldn’t question a thing. That is what Neon Trees is for me.

I may not talk about Neon Trees all the time. A lot of people may not even know I follow their music, but they are there for me when I need them. No matter what I am going through or how many months or years it has been since I played one of their songs, I know that I can put them on and they can change everything for me.

This is related but also off-topic. I’m considering writing its own separate blog post about this, but while I’m talking about Neon Trees I also want to take a minute just to mention Tyler Glenn’s solo album. Although I didn’t do a great job of staying up to date on Neon Trees’s most recent albums, I was (am) obsessed with Tyler Glenn’s solo album Excommunication and think that it is hands down one of the best albums I have ever listened to. If you haven’t heard it I highly recommend you do so now.

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