A comprehensive breakdown nobody asked for of All Time Low's "Weightless" and what it means to me.
Most people, at least until recently I think, would look at me and ask "Who?" whenever I mentioned my favorite band. Even with their first Number 1 song on the Alternative Rock charts, a feat I feel was way too long of a time coming, I still receive this perplexed look when I talk about them to someone new.
And I talk about them a lot. Like, a lot.
Because I am obsessed and when I'm obsessed with something I can't stop. I want to share everything I know, everything I hear, with the world. In the case of All Time Low, there is a bit of a secondary motive besides my own eager obsession. I feel like everyone needs to know about this band, needs to give them recognition and attention, because they are that good. They deserve to be as household a name as legendary bands like Queen and Journey and the like (please don't attack me for that blasphemy, you can have your opinion and I'll have mine!)
I'm getting off topic. As I said, the obsession is real.
Aside from their amazing music, I find their entire vibe to be something a lot of artists today are missing. They fight for LGBTQ+ rights, donating proceeds from ticket sales and merch to various causes that are close to my heart. They speak out against hate, both in personal life and the world at large, not even shying away from political sensitivities. They stand up for women, people of color, all of the above.
I could not be more in love with them if I tried.
While they're not perfect I'm sure, as I have no delusions that what we see on social media is everything there is, but I'd like to believe these causes and beliefs aren't fake. I'd like to believe the things in their posts and their lyrics are not just for show. Which brings me back to the original point of this post. "Weightless"
I chose to share the version they recorded for their ten year tribute re-release of Nothing Personal because it really showcases how far they've come from when the song was first release. However, as amazing and complex as the song is vocally and instrumentally (such as lead singer Alex Gaskarth's evolution to a deeper range, giving his voice a deeper and more hearty sound), the reason I chose this song to be permanently imprinted on my skin has nothing to do with musicality.
As a long time music lover, I am a fan of pretty much all types of music (demonic screaming and rage-inducing Jazz that sounds like the music they torment you with on hold excluded). I can usually find something in any genre that resonates with me. Most often this is due to lyrics that speak to me but I am also a fan of a good beat, especially if it makes my hips want to move even without me consciously deciding to do so. Music is just a part of me, it's what soothes and inspires me. It's in my blood, my soul. So when I'm asked questions such as "What is your favorite type of music?" or "What is your all time favorite song?" I often have great difficulty answering. How can I possibly choose?!
At least, that was my first panicked thought recently when I was asked what my favorite song was. Of all time. Ever. Then, as if summoned by the universe itself, I remembered Weightless.
Ten years ago when the song was released, I was in my mid-twenties (YIKES, I'm old). That person and the person I am now might as well be two separate entities. We might as well have lived in different times, different continents, different everything. Yet, that version of me was going through difficulties that I thought (at the time) were the most unbearable things I'd ever experienced to date and would ever experience in general. I was just starting in my real professional career and was up against some unfair treatment. My personal life was less than ideal. My knee was just ramping up on the scale of ruining my life and a knee replacement wasn't even on the horizon but it was still on surgery number infinity it seemed.
Maybe it's not my weekend
But it's gonna be my year.
Those lyrics came blaring out of my speakers after a particularly bad day at work. I stopped. I listened again. And again. And again.
Honestly, I should have gotten that line tattooed on me also. Maybe next time.
I can't remember how many times I played that song during those first weeks but I remember exactly how it made me feel: hopeful. Sure, things weren't great at the moment but they would get better. It was a bad day not a bad life.
Well I'm stuck in this fucking rut
Waiting on a second-hand pick-me-up
And I'm over getting older
If I could just find the time
Then I would never let another day go by
I'm over getting old
Raise your hand if you're over getting old? Yeah, me too. Even though I laugh as I look back on the first time I heard that now. I definitely shook my head, singing at the top of my lungs, and pointed at the dash before raising a hand in solidarity. "Me too boys!" I probably shouted, not knowing what getting old really meant.
The following years were full of ups and downs, as is the case with life. Strangely, every time I was feeling particularly low (like I was truly at an all time low -hehe, see what I did there?), the song would come on. Right when I needed it. Believe what you want, I choose to believe the Powers-That-Be knew I needed that song to lift me out of a funk and made sure to deliver. It even came on immediately after I answered the 'favorite song ever' question. As if the world knew and wanted me to know I'd answered correctly.
Fast forward to present day. We've all been through hell, what with four years of a Cheeto-in-Chief turning everyone against each other and a global pandemic. Lockdowns were a thing for the first time in most of our lifetimes. My personal demons were louder than ever but I'd come out the other side finally and felt more like myself despite the chaos surrounding me (something I attribute to my lifemates, but more about that in another article) and the chaos in the world at large.
I had been wanting to get a tattoo forever. Literally forever. Like most, I had been nervous about it, unsure if I could take that leap. I had a vague idea of what I wanted, some type of mermaid scales because obviously, but still I was hesitant to take the plunge.
Maybe it's not my weekend but it's gonna be my year
And I'm so sick of watching while the minutes pass as I go nowhere
And this is my reaction to everything I fear
'Cause I've been going crazy, I don't wanna waste another minute here
Yes. Exactly! I don't want to waste another minute.
New Year's Day 2021 dawns. I book an estimate. My stomach is in knots but, like clockwork, my song comes on right after. The universe approves.
I wanna feel weightless 'cause that would be enough
Everything seems better in the water. You're lighter, despite the resistance it can provide. There is an unmistakable weightlessness as you float, a sense that nothing can ever pull you down. That is the perfect feeling to go with my scales. I want to feel weightless because that would be enough, indeed.
I'm getting chills as I write this which I know is weird. It's just a tattoo, it's just a song, they're just a band.
Not for me. For me, they're so much more. The song is forever a part of me, literally and figuratively. It still comes on, regardless of position in queue or which playlist I'm on, just when I need it. And honestly, I will always need it. Just because I'm in a good place now doesn't mean things will always be that way. But what will always be that way is music. All Time Low's music.
I'm so glad I found them because in many ways their lyrics and zest for life have helped me find myself. I can't wait to keep discovering as I watch them do the same.