“It’s not that you won’t be happy again, [sic] you won’t be the same as you were before.” The lyrics and songs of Happy Again bear this mantra. Happy Again is the third EP self-released by Midwest Emo outfit Stars Hollow in March of 2018. The album is a brief 11 minutes and 55 seconds throughout five adrenaline-pumping tracks.
This EP has spoken to me this year, and I hope to share with you where those thoughts have brought me. Heart-wrenching vocals by Tyler Stodghill lead the frenetic energy for four of the five tracks. His vocal power is one of the selling points for this album as you hear the anguish in his voice.
The lyrics of this album depict a broken man who is continuously breaking himself over the same person. The dynamic drums and guitars keep a breakneck pace that hardly takes a breath, ignoring the “Comma” interlude. That interlude, though, is a necessary reprieve between both halves of such a stunning EP. Brilliant lyrics include:
“You’re always under my skin/How do you live in it?”
“I’d be anyone’s anything/If they’d let me.”
“I can’t tell the difference/Between comfort and pain anymore.”
“And I remember how you said/You’re my best friend/But I don’t think I’ll feel that way again.”
Much like the undertow that pulls you out to sea, it seems as if Tyler’s relationship is continually crashing against the rocks and dragging him out to sea. Abusive relationships feel suffocating and inescapable at times for the victims. At the end of the EP, Tyler seems to have come to acceptance, knowing his life will not be the same but knowing he will at least be happy.
Hardly, though, do I believe the band anticipated the goings-on of this year. When the world re-opens, things will not be the same for many. At times, our relationship with this year has felt tenuous at best. While everyone’s challenges have differed, there has been a specter of fatigue that seems to haunt the public consciousness.
It is hard to say that happiness is unjustifiable. Many different challenges have presented themselves this year. At times, it has felt that you were getting kicked while you were down. It can be challenging to see the light when your blackout curtains keep out the day.
When listening to this album, you will feel jarred by the aggressive pace and screaming vocals. The reality of domestic abuse is jarring, as well. Tyler has drawn a picture of abuse while he recreates his passionate pleas. This album is not going to be everybody’s casual listening.
One thing that has sprung out of all the bad that has come this year is empathy. Education regarding stress and mental health is now culturally accepted. While it is not pleasant, it is essential to talk about our feelings. More people care about how others are feeling. We are all feeling the pressure and fatigue of the year. More than ever, I have seen an outpouring of support for those affected by various tragedies.
It’s not going to be easy to get things going again. We have just started down the road of recovery, and none of us know when it will lead back to the highway of life. Happy Again is a monument to recognizing that you deserve happiness, and it will return for you one day.
Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Domestic Abuse Hotline