17. Song No. 63: “Admit It!!!,” Say Anything
…is a Real Boy, 2004
What once appealed to the angry music snob in me now appeals to the annoyed idealist in me. (Even if this is another one I’d forgotten about over the years. I keep being reminded of how so much stuff I used to love has just unceremoniously faded into the background over time.)
I had enrolled in a non-fiction writing class my last fall semester of college, which was really just a chance to show off for a grade. One of the last things I wrote was something I informally called The Indie Bitch Manifesto, wherein I dressed up a too-personal indignance with ten-dollar words while whining about the blandness of people who say they love a band when they mean they really only love the radio hit over four or five pages of intricately itemized wrath. It was pure catharsis after years of frustration at watching the pure, escapist intimacy I still love about obscure outfits filling cozy spaces with my favorite songs become diluted as the experience was poured into bigger sold-out venues filled with people who know almost nothing of a set that, for me, was like a reunion of old friends and new favorites alike. It was like some kind of personal erasure for so many people to only love what was right in front of them without understanding its context and appreciating the weight of the discography not only preceding it but also creating the groundwork for it to grow from.
When I love something or mean something, I do it with my everything. And it stings when something that means quite a lot to you isn’t treated with the awe and reverence it deserves, which makes romanticizing and adoring a thing that can’t love you back a liability that alienates people for no reason other than the crime of feeling feelings a different way. But Younger Me didn’t see it as anything less than blasphemy and raged on with the offended energy of the morally wronged.
“Admit It!!!” justified so much of that, although maybe it shouldn’t have. I didn’t see myself in these lyrics so much as I saw a shared target: affectation at the altar of a self-aware aesthetic. Loving something without risking your heart misses the point, and doing anything ironically or because it was having its moment in the spotlight or for any other less-than-full-hearted reason was downright criminal to me.
Now, I am tired more often than not but still annoyed that my leftist doctrine of beliefs are so in vogue with people who seem to champion them but don’t really understand the why behind the catchy slogans. But this song is an unexpected yardstick gauging just how much I’ve mellowed since the time I first seized on this song as an outward-launched anthem instead of a tongue-in-cheek self-roast because I finally learned that it’s not about when you got to the party but whether you showed up at all and are willing to stay.