If having an all-time favorite band is childish then call me bubba (thanks Troy!) I have lived my whole life with one all-time favorite band. I lost my music virginity to U2 and we have been jealous lovers ever since. Well, until recently. The worst part is that U2 did nothing wrong. In fact, I thought U2’s latest release is one of their best in a long time. That fact plus Bono’s recent injury make what I am about to say so difficult…
I first became aware of Sleeping at Last when I accidentally stumbled across them on Pandora in 2009. I started digesting Storyboards as fast as I could. I loved it. But I also loved Ten by Pearl Jam and that does not an all-time favorite band make. Then I remember discovering they were doing something new while watching shows like Grey’s Anatomy (yes, I know.) Those tracks were so fantastic that you couldn’t pay attention to what the scene was about. But honestly, with Grey’s Anatomy it didn’t actually matter what the scene was about. That show was like Downton Abbey for people who never learned to read. It was so good!
I started listening to the Yearbook project about 3 months after the first release and it pretty much melted a region at the top of my brain that apparently was made of butter. Have you ever had melted butter poured over your brain? It’s pretty amazing. It was right about then that Josh and Krista Miller started to mention SAL too and we began to realize that the other had also been baptized into platinum level fandom. The Millers have actually gotten to work with Ryan! (But he won’t remember them once I stalk him into guest blogging on my site.) I turned Lori on to SAL and it’s been a mainstay in our home. Madeline sleeps to Yearbook every night. The odd thing is that I actually didn’t recommend them to very many people. It’s not like I was a closet fan, it’s just that I thought that the lyrical poetry style would be too dark, too bright, too happy, too sad, too abstract or too whatever. That sounds kind of musical elitist. Which you could say I am until you hear that the only real challengers to U2 over the years has been Coldplay (yes, I know) and The Killers. So I am just an everyday joe when it comes to musical preference. Well, everyday considering only decent music, not Justin Beiber or Toby Keith. (Leave your comments below.)
Coldplay only had a real shot about the time Live 2003 came out. That was the year my youngest daughter was born and it was and is still is all-around greatness. I actually considered honoring them with the All-Time #1 spot back then. But they never got back to that place again and they aren’t going to. U2 reached the top of Everest twice. (3 times if you count ATYCLB.) But that doesn’t mean Coldplay haven’t put out some great albums since. Don’t think for a moment that me and my 3 blondes don’t bounce around the house to Mylo Xyloto anytime we please.
The Killers are for real. They are easily my favorite musical band the past decade. They are just too young still. Will they be the band that puts out 20 great albums with a slow evolution of who they are or will they have a fade and rebirth? Coldplay is relatively young but The Killers have so much more potential in the next 10 years. Battle Born is a top 5 album for me and it almost earned them top honors. Almost.
Here is the bottom line: Sleeping at Last has been my soundtrack the past 5 years culminating with Atlas:Year One finishing last year. That album is top 5 and would like to have words with Joshua Tree. The lyrical brilliance combined with music which is nothing short of artwork makes them like quicksand. Here is what I mean: Let’s say I haven’t spun any Sleeping at Last in a month or two but somehow during a shuffle play or in Starbucks or on TV. (Sleeping at Last’s cover of “500 Miles” will be featured in a SuperBowl commercial.)
What happens next is anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months of it being the only thing I will listen to. It’s like quicksand, you can’t escape. But it’s not always easy. Sometimes you enjoy it and sometimes you have to deal with it. (Sleeping at Last immersion instructions at the bottom of this post.)
Ultimately the reason I love Sleeping at Last is the same as the reason that I love U2. It’s the spirit in the music that is formed when melody and art and poetry and musicality are in harmony to inspire a thought, teach a truth, sing a praise, convey a brokenness or deliver a hope. Melted butter on your brain! It’s just that SAL is melting my brain more than U2 is right now. The Killers are right behind U2, with Coldplay a distant but solid 4th.
For those reasons and many many more I announce that Sleeping at Last is now my All-Time Favorite Band (one-man or other!) Long may they hold the crown!
Final thought: if you thought this blog was inspired it is only because I was listening to Sleeping at Last while I wrote this work of golden poetic musings. If you thought this was the work of a bumbling idiot then you are no doubt a Justin Bieber or Toby Keith fan. (Comments below, jerk!)
Double-Final thought: I will be blogging soon of the romance with my first love, U2.
Sleeping at Last Immersion Instructions:
- I hope it’s not too late, but don’t start with Atlas. You can’t handle it. Don’t blame me if you arrogantly dismiss my wisdom.
- You are going to be starting with Yearbook.
- Don’t listen to the whole album, that’s not how it’s done.
- Start with the three tracks in January and listen to only those tracks for now. (January starts with track 10 and then February at track 13 and so on wrapping around to December at Track 7 ~ the concept started in October which is why it is track 1. SAL wrote and produced 3 songs in each calendar month to create the 36 track album.)
- Sleeping at Last requires absorption and participation, not critical observation. Of course you reserve the right to hate it, but only after an honest attempt to experience the artist intent.
- Just hang out with those three tracks until the melodies are becoming familiar and you will have one of 2 opinions:
- “No thanks!:” No hard feelings, thanks for the honest effort. Now kindly leave.
- “Should I try February?:” That is a wise question my Padawan – you may enter.
- You can proceed with the calendar 2015 year (see next point) or go at your own pace but at some point you will not be able to take it anymore. You will want to experience the months faster but you realize the more you listen to a month of songs the more you can’t stop listening. And you want to go back and further examine past months as you realize how deep each song can go. It is music Nirvana.
- Imagine what it was like for us original SAL pioneer fans who started listening to Yearbook as it was released 3 songs at a time at the beginning of each month. DO YOU WANT YOUR MIND BLOWN? Start listening to the 3 January songs now. Then in February you can add the February songs and continue adding 3 songs every month on the 1st and follow the 2015 calendar. Do not skip ahead – force yourself to absorb it as it was intended!
- Regardless of how it happened, if you finished Yearbook then you are hooked and I am happy to let you know that Atlas: Year One is about to change your life.
- Please email me your experience a year from now if you make it!