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.
There is something ever so slightly terrifying about an album that touches on something deeply personal to you as an individual. On the one hand, it’s comforting to know someone else can relate to what feels like an impossibly unique scenario, but on the other hand it means you may have to comfort feelings or fears you would otherwise prefer to avoid. This is why many view music as some kind of cure all for anything weighing on you emotionally, and it most certainly is, but just because something can help you doesn’t mean you are always ready to deal with whatever has been pulling you down. Only the absolutely best music can cut through the noise telling you to keep running from yourself, forcing you to turn towards the harsh light of reality, and that is exactly what occurs when the sound of Buffalo natives Pentimento pours through your stereo.
I, No Longer is the album Pentimento fans have been waiting for the band to create since their debut EP, Wrecked, made waves in the alternative underground nearly half a decade back. It’s an album the shares the perspective of young men who have long crossed the cultural threshold of adulthood while clinging fiercely to the dreams they’ve had since they were teens. If everything before this recording was about the struggle to be something you can call an actual person then this record deals with the need to discover the best version of yourself and work to become that thing, whatever it may be. You may think you know where your life is supposed to lead, but part of growing older is accepting the fact there are actually million different possibilities for your life, and you only have so much control over which one comes to fruition. You can give your all in pursuit of what you believe to be your true calling, offering the world the best creation you can possibly forge, but that in no way guarantees success or longterm financial sustainability. The reasons for this are as numerous as the stars in the sky, ranging from public opinion to luck of the draw, but when I, No Longer plays Pentimento makes it known that it’s okay to feel helpless at times. Everyone does, and that’s perfectly okay.
When I initially discovered Pentimento I thought songwriter Mike Hansen, who recently guested on Inside Music, was someone who had been shadowing my life. His ability to create metaphors on love, life, and the struggle to make your dreams something more than fiction cut through the bullshit in my life and struck a chord somewhere deep in my soul. The first time I met him I told him as much, citing how the group’s Wrecked EP made me feel like someone understood what it was like to have an engagement dissolve, and Mike shot me a look of surprise that lingers with me today. He may only be a few months younger than me, but at that point in our lives he hadn’t been involved in a relationship that had become quite as serious as mine. The things he was dealing with when writing the songs on Wrecked happened years prior to the record’s release, and though they did deal with broken relationships his love life had little semblance to my own. Still, for whatever reason, the material on Wrecked touched on something I had been doing my best to avoid. I thought I could call the dissolution of my engagement a failed attempt at happiness and move on, but when I heard Wrecked I knew there was more I needed to process. I didn’t deal with everything right away, but that record did push me in the direction I needed to go to find a satisfactory resolution.
I, No Longer is a lot like Wrecked in that the reasons it connects with me has almost nothing to do with the experiences that inspired Mike to lay pen to paper. We’re both trying to come to terms with the fact our dreams of a career in music may never reach the heights we once thought possible, but despite all the signs telling us things may eventually plateau we continue to give our all day in and day out. We have to, if only because there is nothing else we believe ourselves capable of doing as well as we play our roles in the modern music business. We might not be where we wanted to be at this point, but we’re both closer than we ever have been before, and on I, No Longer you hear Pentimento taking account of everything that has transpired to help them reach this point. This in turn causes you to reflect, and when you’re closer to thirty than twenty it’s quite shocking to realize just how many sacrifices have been made in the pursuit of something you may never achieve.
The reason I chose I, No Longer for this week’s Monday Motivation is because I think everyone in the industry needs to make time for reflection in their daily lives. Anyone who has ever attempted to be anything in the entertainment business has only been able to do so by making sacrifices in other areas of their lives. At the time, these sacrifices can be written off as something necessary in order to get ahead, but as you grow older you realize there is a lot more to life than simply getting ahead. There is a whole world outside music, and if you don’t take time to experience it you can lose yourself, as well as your connection to the people who care about you the most, before you even know you’ve made a mistake. Life moves fast and it never slows, not for anyone, so we all have to take it upon ourselves to refocus our energy on a daily basis. Be honest with yourself about your position in life, and ask yourself what needs to be done to become a better version of who you are today. I, No Longer can and will motivate you to have this discussion, but making real change is still on you. I believe in you though, and so does Pentimento.
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.