I talk a lot about music’s ability to conjure up memories of younger days and retired mindsets—but in doing this I find that I often understate a more important notion of the affective nature of the songs and records that we invite into our lives. It ultimately leaves some distaste when said aloud, and perhaps it really has been said too many times already, by myself or otherwise. But I believe it deserves repeating. Music changes our lives, latently and consciously. It’s ultimately a rather mysterious force, perhaps employed and administered by other, even more mysterious forces beyond our comprehension. And I can say this from experience—music falls into our laps when we need it most.
I heard what was a song inside the earth, I put my ear to the ground and I sang with every word.
The Dangerous Summer fell into my lap when I needed it most. Young and needlessly distressed, unhappy and unable to understand why—this was the point in my life where music became more than just files on a computer. I vividly remember reading this review and saying out loud, “wow.”
And, there I was, almost 15 years old, at an FYE in Florida, with a copy of Reach For The Sun in my hands. Thank god my parents were feeling generous that day.
I remember liking it well enough the first time I listened, remember singing along to the chorus of “Where I Want To Be” immediately, remember feeling especially shocked at the emotional impact of “Weathered.” But it wasn’t time for Reach For The Sun to truly hit me yet. That moment wouldn’t come until a few months later.
I think I’m ready to sing this time.
The Dangerous Summer broke the ice at the first show I ever went to. My sister, the ultimate catalyst of my love for music, took me to see Ace Enders (still to this day my favorite man in music) for my 15th birthday. I remember being in a strange state of shock—trying to see if it was acceptable to sing along to “Surfaced,” or if it was okay to bob my head or move at all. That strange feeling of immobilization at the sight of Enders, one of my heroes, playing some of my favorite songs in front of me.
And then it was over—and I tried my best to retain these images of one of my favorite experiences of my life. But, while that show added fuel to the fire of musical exploration, it’s not what I remember most from that hot summer night.
I remember I-95 in my sister’s red mustang. I remember a late drive and a strong desire for breakfast food. I remember Reach For The Sun.
“That band was really good, put that record on.”
And that’s when The Dangerous Summer really came into my life. I knew every word. “Where I Want To Be” rang in my head when that one girl would sit next to me; “Surfaced” would burst from my lips whenever a catharsis was necessary; “Reach For The Sun” would mix up my brain with possibility; and “Weathered” would consistently inspire me to create. I felt stuck and stagnant, but Reach For The Sun gave me hope that this wouldn’t always be the case, and propelled me through all of the bullshit when it seemed like I had no other choice but to wallow in it.
Come down, all the fighting’s over; I’ll let you breathe your own air.
So then there was War Paint, and the relationship forged was just as strong, if not stronger than with Reach For The Sun. War Paint played me out of high school, just as Reach For The Sun played me in. And this is fitting, since War Paint has a different, fierier aura to it—a kind of forward motion about it, a little rawness in its presentation. A consciousness of the internal issues which plagued the narcissistic narrator of Reach For The Sun’s night-time deluge of death and personal desire, but with a driving mission to defeat it and move forward, get out, and start again.
Find the courage to paint a world that burns like hell, not for allure but mostly for yourself.
I needed this when I lost the high school safety net—I needed someone beside me moving forward, getting out, starting again. And with War Paint in my ears—I wanted to make my past look trivial. I wanted to leave my room with the sound of spacey guitars behind me and build something for myself. That desire burns still, and The Dangerous Summer helped facilitate it.
I’ll never love Golden Record like I love the other two records. I’ll never try and justify the antics of the members. I’ll admit that The Dangerous Summer was occasionally a very difficult band to love because of said antics. But the fact remains—I grew up with The Dangerous Summer.
Hell, I’m still growing up with The Dangerous Summer. Just last week, I listened to “Waves” while preparing for the most important interview of my life so far. And as my brain fluttered and liquefied in a wash of nerves and anticipation, I stopped. I put my ear to the ground. I sang with every word.
Don’t make a ceiling inside your clouds, just let them grow with your plans.
I took a breath. Now, I have the biggest opportunity of my life in front of me.
The Dangerous Summer is part of that. It’s startling and actually quite frightening, but it’s absolutely true to say that I would be a different person without this band. This realization has influenced my career path, my perception of the world, and, most of all, my perception of myself. And through all of the bullshit with the band’s members, and the many reasons I have to dislike The Dangerous Summer—I just can’t ignore the impact it’s had on my life. I’ll have time to discuss the problems, but as The Dangerous Summer leave the stage forever I know that now is the best time to express gratitude.
So thanks, TDS, for leaving us with your songs and for giving me a space to grow when I really needed it.