Monday Motivation: Bayside

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.

Being predictable doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Take for example, Bayside. The New York based rock band has been creating a unique take on modern punk rock for the better part of two decades at this point, and in that time they have carved a niche for themselves within the industry. Fans flock to Bayside’s every album and tour not because they continually reinvent the wheel, but rather because they tend to do the same thing the always have as well as they ever have with each new move. What people expect from Bayside, and what they have come to be known for within the entertainment industry, is quality. You know what you’re getting quality wise with Bayside, and that belief in their ability to always be good allows the band to do whatever they please because they already have your trust. They know being themselves is exactly what you expect, and they do their best to continue giving a piece of themselves to listening – through thick and thin – as honestly as possible.

On ‘Vacancy,’ the band’s sixth studio album, Bayside further their self-expression with a collection of stories and reflections built in the wake of vocalist Anthony Raneri’s marriage falling apart. Raneri gave up his lifelong home of New York to move to Tennessee with his wife and newborn daughter with plans of building a new reality for his family. Life had other plans however, and some time later Raneri found himself living out of an empty apartment surrounded by boxes filled with possessions he couldn’t bring himself to unpack. After all, he didn’t consider this new setting a home, nor did he have any desire to be there any longer than was necessary. To deal with the chaos of his life, Raneri began pouring himself into his art, and the result of those efforts is what you hear on this new record. It’s a perspective on life torn asunder and the search for new beginnings that few have ever dared to share, and it just might be the most personal album in the band’s notoriously honest catalog.

While the often heartbreaking honesty of Bayside’s latest release is sure to be a selling point for many, what sets the band apart – and what has always served as something of a signature silver lining for the group – is their ability to find a way through their darkest personal moments and through doing so inspire others to do the same. Some will learn the story behind ‘Vacancy’ and believe it to be a meditation in love gone awry, but in reality it’s a far more introspective recording. This is an album not about the faults of others, but the role we each play in what goes right or wrong in our individual lives. It’s about not allowing yourself to think bad and good things simply happen, but understanding that you have power over your fate. Don’t fool yourself into believing some things just don’t work out because that is rarely true. There is a reason for everything, and you might need to take responsibility for the part you play in the events of your life in order to truly appreciate that.

When you find time to listen to ‘Vacancy,’ which I hope is sooner rather than later, try to think of your initial encounter as an opportunity for personal growth. Raneri never predicted his life would play out the way it has, and chance are you never knew you would be wherever it is that you find yourself in life right now either. Let ‘Vacancy’ inspire you to reflect on the path that brought you here, as well as inspire you to seek out the future you want for yourself and those around you. This album can and should empower you to work towards making the world reflect the desire of your heart. Not everything will go the way you want, but every turn in the road is an opportunity for growth that will help you make better and smarter decisions down the line. Life is not about destinations, but rather the path taken to get to them, and ‘Vacancy’ is the perfect companion to the journey through existence for those over twenty-five.


James Shotwell is the Digital Marketing Manager for Haulix. He is also a professional entertainment critic, covering both film and music, as well as the co-founder of Antique Records (RIP). 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.