Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.
In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.
Thomas Bleach — Melodrama By Lorde (2017)
I don’t even know where to begin. When I start to think of you, a billion little vivid memories blur together into a giant supercut as the appropriately titled song ‘Supercut’ plays in the back of my mind.
When I think of you, I think of love, I think of loss, I think of growth, and I think of reflection. And the heaviest type of reflection takes over.
I’ve done a lot of thinking recently and I’ve realised that I’ve grown a lot and you were the soundtrack to that mammoth growth in my life.
I was a teenager when I was first acquainted with your little sister Pure Heroine. I was so naive at the time as I had never been in love, never properly dated anyone, and I was only just figuring out my sexuality. There were a lot of compromising thoughts running through my mind but that album reassured me that my time would come. From smiling and laughing along to the coming of age ‘Ribs’ to the dark and empowering reflection of ‘A World Alone’, I found my confidence.
In the months leading up to our paths crossing for the first ever time, I fell in love. It was raw, it was powerful and it was pure. As my friend’s grandma explained it, I had found my tingly boy. The boy who made my stomach feel like it was full of butterflies and could light up a smile on my face instantly. He had me feeling a way that no one else had ever made me feel before and I believed that I had the same impact on him.
It was in the unforgettable love drunk state that I first heard ‘Green Light’. There was something bright and different about it that I liked. But it wasn’t until a couple of weeks later that I rediscovered a new meaning for it and my mindset was altered.
I had just arrived in Los Angeles for a little two week holiday and I was so excited to get away and go exploring. But on the night of my first day there, my boyfriend called me to break up with me.
There I was sitting on the curb on the side streets of Hollywood in absolute shock. I was heartbroken and I was confused. I felt like someone had just shot me and the blood was flowing out of me and starting to make me feel lifeless. I pulled myself together and hopped on a plane to New York the next day to continue the trip as planned but I felt different. I felt changed.
I was in New York but I didn’t care. I was experiencing amazing firsts but he was still the only thing on my mind. I couldn’t understand the logic as to why he would take away a moment of joy from me like an overseas trip is meant to give.
Towards the end of my stay in New York I was over feeling sorry for myself. It was 11pm at night and my friends were fast asleep in their beds but I was still wide awake. So I hopped out of bed and went for a walk around the area of the hotel. It was quiet, almost peaceful. There was snow on the sidewalks and empty streets for me to reflect on. I put ‘Green Light’ on repeat for 45 minutes as I walked around and started to feel empowered. I heard the lyrics in a new light. I heard the hope you were singing to me.
I realised that it was okay to be upset and to feel hurt because we are human. And that it was okay to live in this heartbroken state for a bit, as long as I knew that my green light was coming. It may not be sudden but it would happen. I would be okay in the end but I needed to trust and believe in myself and that’s what that song taught me. I went from crying and walking around while listening to that song on repeat to starting to dance and air drum as the chorus came in. I felt empowered. I felt hopeful. And most importantly, I felt happy.
That song became my anthem. Whenever I felt anxious I listened to it, and whenever I needed a pick me up I would blast it so loud and proud. I was still so heart broken while my anxiety and trust issues skyrocketed. I found it extremely hard to go out clubbing without having a panic attack but every time I did you were looking out for me and ‘Green Light’ would come on at the perfect time to remind me to live in the moment.
‘Liability’ was also out in the world at that time and I radiated a lot of my self pity through those lyrics. I felt like I was a burden on all my friends and family because I was so heartbroken and unsure of where I wanted to go in life. My direction lacked and that song made me feel good about being vulnerable and unsure, because again, we are all human.
A few months later the whole album was released and I had a midnight listening session with my best friend in the basement of her house as we nervously awaited the feelings and revelations you were going to deliver. From the big sing alongs of ‘Sober’ to the loved up ‘The Louvre’ that had me feeling love drunk again to the vulnerable and raw ‘Hard Feelings/Loveless’ and ‘Writer In The Dark’ which I related to a lot as a fellow creative. You had me feeling so many ways. But ‘Perfect Places’ resonated with me in a similar way that ‘Green Light’ did because I realised that we are in this moment because we are meant to be, so live it.
Those memories and realisations have stuck with me ever since I heard Melodrama for the first time. We’ve been through more heartbreak together and we’ve been through the loved up moments too. But whatever extreme feeling it is, I’ve realised that I love being human.
Thomas Bleach‘s EP Damaged Goods: The Soundtrack is out today. He released his debut book on 1st July this year, also titled Damaged Goods. It’s a collection of short stories and retold experiences that explore the themes of growing up in a homophobic family, coming to terms with sexuality, and the feelings that follow. The EP is the soundtrack to the book and features: ZACHARY, Phil Hancock, Meeks, Lucy Neville and Guy.
You can have a listen to ‘True Love’ here.