You all know what I’m talking about. For whatever reason, there’s that one song in your daily arsenal that, for lack of a better phrase, kicks your ass. Whether it’s the direct message being spelled out lyrically, your own interpretation of the lyrics, or maybe it’s a place those lyrics bring you to. For whatever reason it may be, this song entirely breaks you down.
How did you get to this headspace? Why are you reflecting on songs that break your heart, Taylor?
Music is a weird thing. It brings people from different backgrounds, different walks of life, different stressors together. It can explain a feeling when words fail to accurately depict one’s emotional stance. Then there’s the aspect of the whole music thing that can take you out of your current situation and bring you to a different mental state; a different place; a better time.
Right now, for me, that song is “Kansas City”. I’d tell you what it’s about, but I’ll do one better and let you figure it out on your own by listening above (oh, and you’re welcome in advance).
This song was released 3 days after I got back from the perfect birthday trip to the beautifully humbling mountains of Colorado. For me, there’s something about the mountains. This wasn’t my first time there, either. I grew up going to Lake Tahoe and Colorado later on in life, and have always enjoyed my time there, but there was something different about this trip.
It’s not just the fact that we didn’t run into any bumps; the people of the town we stayed in were warm, welcoming and accommodating. The weather was perfect for skiing; we got 4 inches of fresh powder as a birthday gift to yours truly. I mean, yeah, of course I had a great time, and anyone is sad to leave vacation.
But this was more than just a vacation. It was more than just a good time. It brought back a feeling I haven’t possessed in over a year; one of freedom and pure joy. One of purpose and light. I felt rejuvenated and understood.
Since being back, I’ve felt none of those things, but I’ve surely felt pain and anxiety with their absence. I’ve felt lost, unmotivated; overall lacking something that I clearly need to do more than merely exist in the world day in and day out.
Let’s not forget about “Kansas City” and it’s role, here. As I mentioned, this song dropped 3 days after getting back from Colorado. The 2 days leading up to this release, I didn’t talk to many people. I went to work, plugged in headphones and got after it. Then Friday came. The Mowglis, in my honest and sincere opinion, are incapable of making a bad song. They just can’t do it.
That Friday, I got in my car to head to work, opened Spotify and immediately searched “Kansas City”. There’s no better time to listen to new music than on your morning commute, just trust me on this one. Colin, a member of the band, had been hyping of the song for weeks, tweeting about what it meant to him, how emotional he got playing it live at shows. Knowing that, I knew this was going to be a little different from the typical Mowgs I’m used to.
The song plays on, and my connection with it grows as each second passes. Then the pre-chorus hit, and it hit hard.
“Been in a new town, got the same issues to work through. Turns out when you move, you just take it all with you”
Did going to the mountains validate my desire to move out there someday in the near future? Yeah, of course. That’s something that’s kept me going every day. So when I heard these lines, my first reaction was ok, Taylor, whatever you’re struggling with now; it’s not going to magically go away because you’re in the mountains. It’s still going to be there underneath the surface. Then I thought about it more, and there’s nothing I feel I’m trying to run away from; there’s no obstacle directly in my way that I feel moving cities and states would resolve, even temporarily.
Throughout the day, the words in the pre-chorus echoed in my head. The problem is I didn’t have time to really delve into the thought behind it. I had a job to do, and if it wasn’t the weekend, there was no time for fun. No time for conversation. No reason to smile. No point in doing anything besides working and sleeping.
That’s when I realized, “OK. This is more than the typical post-vacation slump”. What was it, then? To be honest, I still haven’t quite figured that out, but I’m trying to. Writing this out, up to this point, was step one. I’ve realized a lot throughout the course of the day today, mainly being that without a sense of purpose, without something driving you to utilize your skillset in it’s most viable way possible; you’ve got nothing. The fire goes out.
Is it solely up to me to relight that fire? I’m going to take a stand here and say no, but hear me out. Do I think we are, as individuals, in control of our lives and our own emotions? For sake of rounding up, we’ll say yes, sure. You have the choice to think positively or negatively in the eyes of a storm. For sure. But, as a people, as a workforce, I think we’ve got to do better. People don’t exist to neglect one another. Society has to change. We need to welcome leadership advice from unexpected sources, we need to scope out the positive qualities others bring to the table, and utilize their minds and perspectives to create things that haven’t yet been created; whatever that may be.
Does this mean I think you should base your happiness on another human being? Nope. If that’s what you’ve gotten out of this thus far, I’m either wildly misspoken, or you may want to reread through a different lens.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the purposes behind jobs, and my views are mixed. They’re necessary to give you a sense of purpose and the ability to survive in a more pleasant way. But on the other hand, I don’t agree with the idea of working just to work. I’m a firm believer that there’s a job out there for everyone that they can pursue with passion on a daily basis. That your talents, your expertise can be used for the good of a company, and the good of your mental wellbeing and soul.
I think that jobs have the ability to redefine a person’s point of view on various subject matters depending on how they’re perceived at their place of work, and if they feel they’re able to, without scrutiny or backfire, perform the duties they were brought on board to do. I think false advertisement when it comes to job duties sets a business up for high turnover rates.
People get on millennials for not accepting the work place norms of the past, but I don’t see that as something problematic. I see it as a necessity. If you refuse to adapt to the ways of those rising up in the world socially and economically, you’re going to find yourself pushed out of business due to a competitor actually caring about culture, purpose, leadership and drive.
To tie that tangent all together, every aspect of your life affects your headspace, which in turn affects your ability to be a productive and fulfilled member of society. The mountains reminded me there is purpose out there, you just might have to look for it in unforeseeable places. Right now, I can’t see it. I haven’t figured out what my soul found in the mountains, but when i do, I’m sure I’ll be that much closer to finding that sense of purpose again.