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.
You never know how long it will take to do something right. Some of the biggest pop hits of all time were written in under thirty minutes, like Lorde’s breakout single “Royals,” but other musical creations take months or even years to come together. The key for creators is to know when something is actually complete, and sadly not everyone is able to recognize that. For some, the inner turmoil associated with whether or not they have done to the absolute best of their ability consumes them. They feel unless something is perfect it is not ready to be shared with the world because that would mean revealing to fans they are not the flawless artists some believe them to be, but that is exactly what they have always been. They are human, just like you or I, and if they don’t learn to accept the fact they too are incapable of perfection they will drive themselves insane. I’ve watched as many fell victim to this path, including myself, and I continue to work to this day to better my own outlook so similar situations do not occur.
The Plot In You spent nearly two and a half years working on the material that would become their new album, Happiness In Self Destruction, and in that time a lot changed for the band. For starters, the band broke ties with Rise Records following a mutually unhappy relationship. The band was getting the support they expected and the label wasn’t seeing the return they anticipated. That could have easily been the end for The Plot In You, or at least reduced the band to being something members did in their free time, but Attila frontman Fronz saved the group with an offer to sign with his new label, Stay Sick Recordings. In the words of the band themselves, it was the deal of a lifetime, and they happily accepted it. I can’t speak to why necessarily, but if I had to guess I would say the band believed that since Fronz himself was a touring musician he understood what they needed to be successful in their own career. If that is the case, they were absolutely right.
What you get when a band has two-plus years to create a record is something eclectic, yet undeniably cohesive with more heart than anything found at radio today. The material on Happiness In Self Destruction takes a hard look at what brings us joy in life, and then proceeds to ask why so many things we rely on to feel good actually cause us pain, such as alcohol and prescription drug abuse. That may sound like a band taking to task those who choose to partake in such activities, but that could not be further from the truth. Instead, The Plot In You are simply shining a light on an ugly truth most gloss over because such actions are typically deemed culturally acceptable. Most people feel good after a couple drinks, so it can’t be that bad, right? Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. The point is that a life lived without questioning such things is a poor excuse for existence. Like anything, you shouldn’t do something because others say it’s okay or that it will somehow bring you happiness. You should only do the things that are good for you, and I mean that in a physical and mental sense, as well as emotional. It’s not about handling your high, but asking why that high is needed to reach what you believe to be happiness.
It was Socrates who said “The unexamined life is not worth living,” and on The Plot In You’s new album that seems to be the message they hope to convey to fans. Question everything. Not just the world around you, but the thoughts, ideas, hopes, and dreams that fire across your brain throughout the day as well. Ask why you do the things you do, and be honest with yourself in your response. If you do that, you may discover you are actually your own worst enemy, and that the things you thought would bring joy into your life have actually been causing more harm than good. They didn’t make you stronger, they just made you numb, and now you’re so cut off from the world as a result of your actions you don’t know how to make amends. I can’t give you that answer, and to be honest neither can The Plot In You, but listening to Happiness In Self Destruction can remind you that you are not alone. Everyone you meet is fighting a battle only they can fully appreciate, and at the end of the day it’s on each of us as individuals to figure out how we handle those wars. Some will overcome their demons, but others will not. If you want to be among the survivors, you need to take a hard look at your life and figure out what, if anything, needs to be changed and then act on those beliefs. Then, and only then, can you begin to find true happiness in this life.
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.