Every once in a long while, there is an album that comes along and changes everything. Nothing More’s newest release, The Stories We Tell Ourselves, is not that album. Stay a moment and let me tell you why.
With their third full length album, Nothing More gives us a sobering reminder of what it means to be human. With sheer talent and a sound the size of a WWI era Zeppelin, the band weaves a tale of love, betrayal, regret, and loss. However, a story of fiction this is not. This is a commentary on the human condition and how our deepest desire to love and be loved, can ultimately lead to our complete undoing.
The album as a whole captures this duality of love and its absence in a riveting and refreshing way. This is about a battle that has waged on for millennia, a narrative on how we can forget who we are, and how, on our road to find acceptance, we forget to show this in return. This is a call to arms if you will, to never forget that if we lose sight of what is most important, we utterly destroy ourselves from within.
“Let ‘em Burn,” one of the first singles released this summer, reminds us just how ugly we can be to each other. Here is a line I think almost anyone that reads this can relate to: “Everybody, everybody lies / Everybody, everybody buys it / Everybody, everybody, we all divide.” We’ve seen it from all sides: he said, she said, they said, etc. Further driving this point home, the song continues: “They repeat the lie, ’til it becomes a fact / We gotta burn it down, so we can build it back.” Regardless of where you are in the world, this comes crashing home all too well. Turn to any news outlet or the social media platform of your choice; we’re all pointing fingers, blaming, deflecting, and just boiling down to hate. Everyone of us has felt this, even from those we dare say we love(d).
“Go To War” is where it hit me the hardest. Not this sense of discord from the last song, but one of guilt. This is where I am forced to put myself under the microscope and realize, I am not the innocent victim I told myself I was. “Screaming at the ones we love / Like we forgot who we can trust / Screaming at the top of our lungs / On the grounds where we feel safe.” Did my family and friends see me this way? Was I conveying love? I stopped caring how others felt, out of blind frustration, with a sense of vindication because my “side” wasn’t racist, because my side wasn’t hateful, because we knew better. I was ready for war. I was ready to fight. “What have I done” was a realization that dropped like a bomb.
“Who We Are” acts as the perfect bookend to this emotional onslaught, and culminates in a beautiful statement of the power that we have together. What we can accomplish as a species, instead of an individual, or party. “As our faces erase and our bodies decay / As we move through the waves that echo our names / We’re alive / We’re alive / It’s who we are that keeps me believing / There’s something bigger than ourselves.” Sometimes we lose sight of what can be most important. We’re obsessed with the world at large, with the comings and goings of others we may never meet, and forget about those closest to us, those we can have the most impact on. Those we love.
So, the band and their new album didn’t change everything. They had the audacity to reach higher, for something more.
They didn’t just upend the game and completely level the playing field.
No. they made me rethink my attitude and perceptions of those I hold dear.
They changed my world. They changed me.
The Stories We Tell Ourselves is available for pre-order and is out September 15th!