Songs With Stories: The Birthday Massacre’s “Movie”

First off, to introduce what I hope is going to be a series: You ever just…listen to a song, and you just close your eyes and it takes you back to a very specific moment in time, and you can’t help but associate said song with that moment in time?

That’s what this is. Writing about songs in my library that evoke a certain time period of my life, and the story surrounding it. It’s one of those things I sometimes just can’t get out of my mind.

I’ve done this before, kind of, back when I had Tumblr pushing the pixels for my blog. So if this seems familiar…that might be why.

I hope you enjoy.

The Birthday Massacre (henceforth abbreviated as “TBM”) is one of many musical acts that was introduced to me by a good friend. I fell in love with them in high school, and a few of their songs were daily listens for me on my iPod at the time.

2007 was when multiple things happened: A new album coming! A new single released! And much like I was for VNV Nation stuff at the time, I was hyped. Only there was one thing: Walking with Strangers was over The Wall. Not in the Pink Floyd sense, but it released in September, 2007.

2007 was also the year I’d be graduating high school, and by September I would have crossed into adulthood. That was The Wall to me. Graduation (which I was barely skirting towards with my grades) coupled with crossing the threshold into adulthood at the end of summer. It felt like that bit in Grandia, where you’re staring down The End of the World (which, appropriately, was a giant wall that you had to cross over).

2007, as I’ve written here before, was quite the brutal year that saw me clutching my iPod like it was my best friend even as I slowly lost everything due to parental punishment for failing grades. It was the only thing I could keep adequately concealed from them, and the only thing that kept me sane during those extremely low points. You bet TBM was very much–again–in that rotation of “songs that kept xodium from doing something stupid to himself”.

(In fact there’s a whole story here to be written about VNV Nation. Judgement had released in the run-up to graduation, and many a song on that album just…yeah. But that’ll be for a future entry.)

Somehow, despite it all, I managed to scale the wall. I scraped by with the lowest grade one could muster and still pass. If you ask me now, in my mid 30s, I’d tell you it was an empty victory. But the relief that 17 year old me felt when I went to my Government class and got informed that I barely passed (as that was the only class that was going to hose me). Oh man. Nothing like it.

I took my first, scary step into adulthood. It was a weird feeling, like simultaneously my whole world opened up, but yet, I felt the same.

Walking with Strangers released not long after my birthday (hah, appropriate). I gave the album a full listen on my busted up but still working 5th gen iPod, and remembering Movie being one of those calmer tracks that just stuck with me. I just remember listening to it on a cloudy day, on the couch in my room, looking out the window, waiting for the UPS guy to deliver some parts I had ordered to make my iPod (which would become my best friend once again very soon) minty fresh.

Every time I hear it now, it takes me back to sitting on that couch, in that room, looking out the window. Not just waiting for a delivery, but also that feeling of what now? The wall has been scaled. I’m on the other side of it now. What do we do now? Where do we go? The future is scary, what if it turns out to be a total crapsack future?

(Unfortunately, I was kinda right on that one, and it pains me to admit that. The life we’re all living right now just feels like the future that 17/18 year old me was afraid of happening.)

Even though things were getting worse–relations with the parents and grandparents was gradually deteriorating, which would end in me being kicked out in a couple months from when this story took place–this little moment was one of those moments where I felt a sliver of peace amidst the sea of chaos that was transitioning into adulthood. The future was scary, yes, but also–at the time–still undecided.