When you load up Spotify, a great big chunk of the time you can’t think what to play, right? You default back to your old favourites, those albums and songs you played on repeat when you first discovered you could make them yours.
This isn’t about guilty pleasures; it’s about those songs you’ll still be listening to when you’re old and in your rocking chair. So, enter Teenage Kicks - a playlist series that sees bands running through the music they listened to in their formative years.
Next up, Cody Carson from Set It Off.
Relient K - More Than Useless
This song, for me, was like having a best friend next to you to cheer you up on your worst days. I'd come home from a rough day at school and turn this up all the way and scream every word. It gave me self worth and confidence when I felt like there was none left in the tank. It also shaped me as a lyricist in a subconscious way. The verses are about the tough times; they draw you in and make you feel ok with not being ok. Then the choruses lift you up and remind you that everything is going to get better. I can't thank Relient K enough for this song.
Mayday Parade - Miserable At Best
This song not only got me through some of my hardest breakups, but it made me really appreciate ballads. I used to always skip the ballads on the album. I only cared about the fast tempo, energy driven tracks, but this made me stop and absorb every word and melody. It's actually the first ballad I forced myself to learn on piano and cover, and it heavily influenced me in Set It Off in our ballads moving forward. Many tears were shed while singing along to this song, and it truly helped me heal over and over. Sometimes you need the sad songs to take your hand and show you how to lean into your pain to push through it. This is one of those songs.
Fall Out Boy - Sugar We're Going Down
Holy shit, what a memory. MTV spring break. Fall Out Boy did a live performance of this song. Joe Trohman did a backwards 360° spin with his guitar, and it was game over for me; I was hooked. There began a very long and loyal journey of buying every album and just being an overall massive fan of Fall Out Boy. I learned so much about writing music just by listening and over-analysing every note, melody, and lyric. Patrick Stump will forever be one of my favourite musical influences.
New Found Glory - Understatement
The first rock instrument I ever played was actually drums. I got my first kit at 13 and would put on my favourite albums and just play away. 'Sticks and Stones' was always in regular rotation. Cyrus Bolooki is a goddamn MONSTER on the kit. I remember looking up videos of them playing this song live just to watch how he approached the fills in this songs, which hand he started with. I found out he had a perfectly symmetrical drum kit, and I thought that was the coolest thing ever. This song is too much fun, it's so quick and energetic in the verses and pre-choruses, and then the halftime chorus kicks in, and I fucking DARE you not to bob your head and smile. Also, a cool full-circle moment, I've had the pleasure of meeting these guys and playing on warped with them. Absolutely, incredibly nice fellas!
My Chemical Romance - Helena
This song is single-handedly responsible for me getting into my first real band. I was playing it with headphones on in the gym of my church where this ska band rehearsed, and they heard me play it. They couldn't hear which song I was playing to, but one of the members said, "was that 'Helena'?" and I remember being so happy that they recognised it just from the beat. They shortly offered me the opportunity to be their drummer and thus began my obsession with playing live rock shows. It's also the most iconic music video I've ever seen, and that holds up to this day. Thank you, My Chem, for shaping my youth. Y'all are forever legends in my heart.
Backstreet Boys - Larger Than Life
Flashback to when I was in 5th grade, one fine Christmas Day. I went to my best friend Jesse's house, and his mom said she had a present for both of us. That present was an envelope containing two tickets to my first show ever. The Backstreet Boys millennium tour. WHAT a show! I became a super fan immediately. This song/video got my attention in particular. I'm not kidding when I say this, I entered a lip sync contest for Radio Disney and did an entire choreographed dance routine to this song. I hope no video exists of it, haha. But yeah, as a lot of you already probably figured, BSB has been a huge influence on our songs as well. Max Martin is probably the greatest songwriter of all time, and once I discovered him and his discography, I went to work, researching how he makes these songs so perfect. His songs are infectious, and it's no wonder I became such a huge Backstreet Boys fan.
Destiny's Child - Say My Name
Before I got into any sort of rock or pop-punk, it was all pop or R&B. I would essentially listen to whatever my sister listened to, and she has IMMACULATE taste. I quickly fell in love with Destiny's Child. I just loved not only how catchy their songs were but the attitude behind them. Just owning how you feel and not being afraid to tell it like is. Showing how fun it can be to sing angry/sassy lyrics. It doesn't hurt that Queen B herself just tore this song a new one. The ad-libs over the chorus are a force to be reckoned with. Thank you, Cambia (my sis), for shaping my musical pallet!
Five Iron Frenzy - Pre-Ex Girlfriend
This song was my introduction to pop/punk and ska. I was a VERY nerdy kid growing up and had NO clue how to talk to girls. This song kinda allows you to laugh at how awkward you are. Five Iron Frenzy made me proud to be a nerd. So many of their songs were anthems of my youth. They have both hilarious and serious songs, and I was in love with all of it. It also made me EXTREMELY pumped to play drums in a ska band. Shoutout to the ska community; I still think they're some of the most fun shows to attend!
Taken from the May issue of Upset. Set It Off's album 'Elsewhere' is out now.
Featuring The Linda Lindas, Simple Plan, Bob Vylan, Bury Tomorrow and more.