Monday Motivation: Senses Fail

If you’re anything like me, you probably started the day by recognizing that the start of a new work week had indeed arrived and then immediately began shaking your fists at the sky in anger. Monday is rarely anyone’s favorite day, and from what I have seen firsthand it feels safe to say it’s the one day of the week some people outright hate. I guess to them the arrival of the work week symbolizes the end of their quote/unquote freedom, and as a result they head into the office/factory/restaurant/store with a negative outlook already on their mind. This leads to bad attitudes, which only makes the experience of being at work worse, and for some reason it also seems to make time slow to a crawl. We’re not about that life, and we hope this post can do the same you that the song contained within it did for us.

It was around 4 o’clock in the afternoon last Saturday when I realized that I have spent over a decade of my life listening to Senses Fail. At 27 years of age, that makes my connection to vocalist and lyricist Buddy Nielsen one of the longest-running relationships of my entire life, easily putting every girlfriend I’ve ever had to shame. Heck, outside my parents and one or two select artists there are few, if any, whose nuanced take on the world around them has connected with me on such a deeply personal as his, and even less have been able to sustain that connection for even a year, let alone twelve. 

If you asked me why that is the way my life has played out even two weeks ago I probably couldn’t have told you. I had not yet made the connection myself, so of course there is no way I could have relayed such information to you, but having sat with this notion for a few sleepless nights (due to summer heat, not my connection to Senses Fail) I’ve reached a conclusion. Though the content I relate to has changed from album to album, there is a brash and relentless honesty riddled through each and every Senses Fail record that is not afraid to tear down everything, including the person uttering each line. It’s an all-encompassing sense (no pun intended) of ‘why not tell it like it is, for once’ that keeps me coming back again and again. I never know what Buddy will choose to share, but I know it will be true, and that is more than you can expect from the vast majority of artists working today.

This week, Senses Fail will release Pull The Thorns From Your Heart, their most experimental and thought-provoking release to date. I know I just spent several paragraphs relaying how honest the band has been with every release, but there is something unflinching boldness to this record that strips away every preconceived notion fans have about what Senses Fail are supposed to be and introduces a new, fully-matured band that knows exactly what they want to say and how it needs to be conveyed to listeners in order to make the biggest impact. It’s a cathartic listening experience that leads one to question not only the lies they’ve told others, but the ones they’ve been telling themselves, and how the time spent running from the truth has only been time wasted. You can say it’s good enough, but life isn’t meant to be lived in a way that is just okay. You’re supposed to take chances and, as the band explains on the record, “leap into the great unknown.”

I encourage all of you to make time for _Pull The Thorns From Your Heart _in the days ahead. This summer has been filled with great music, but very few have the potential to make as big of a positive impact as this one, and it just so happens to be one of the most diverse offerings of any group from the alternative world in all of 2015. It will make you feel in ways music rarely does, and that’s exactly what you need to head into the week ahead. You need something that will shake you from the comfort of whatever routine you have allowed yourself to fall into and make you reevaluate the path you have chosen, as well as the people you’ve asked to join you on your journey. 

It’s time to wake up and live the life you were meant to pursue, with love for yourself and others. _Pull The Thorns From Your Heart _will help, but the work is up to you. I believe in you.

James Shotwell is the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. He is also a professional entertainment critic, covering both film and music, as well as the co-founder of Antique Records. Feel free to tell him you love or hate the article above by connecting with him on Twitter. Bonus points if you introduce yourself by sharing your favorite Simpsons character.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.