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The Jaguar Journal

The Jaguar Journal

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The Twilight Sad: The slow burn of indie bands

Post Punk Pep

It’s very rare for an artist to truly grab my attention. From a musical background of metal, pop, and rock; critiques of instrumentals have become fundamental to my interest in music. So when my father offered me the ticket to The Cure concert, I went just to spend a night with him. I had very little interest in The Cure. Not to discredit the beauty of their music and how influential they are in addressing the idea of what it is to be vulnerable as an individual, it just wasn’t a sound I was used to hearing. It was late at night, and to be frank I was exhausted, but some sounds during that concert resonated with me. Especially the sound of their opening band, a very special artist: The Twilight Sad. 

It was something about their sound that interested me. It cut through my drowsiness and almost immediately I became invested in them. The vocals, mixed in with this constant guitar and electronic sound creates an almost dream-like atmosphere. Following the car ride home, I played their newest album release, “IT WON/T BE LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME.” (Yes, the / is intentional from the band). Maybe it was the time of year, maybe of relations with my friends and family, or even the onset of Junior year coming to a close. But, the tone. The whole tone of the album felt as if I was simultaneously alone yet understood with each song, isolating key feelings of purpose just about anyone has felt in the past couple years. Each song isolated the feelings of purpose and self fulfillment in a way I couldn’t emulate as easily with other artists. 

What is definitive is their likeness to a few bands, whilst still being unique in their own right. A European band like them is Fontaines D.C., which performed as the opener for Arctic Monkeys in 2023. Songs from Fontaines, such as “I love you”, resonate with the same vocal and instrumental mix that The Twilight Sad accomplishes. Another much bigger band that’s similar to The Twilight Sad, at least in my opinion, is The Killers off of their 2004 “Hot Fuss” album. Of course another big artist comparison would simply be The Cure, as both follow the same thematics and recipes in the post punk genre. While their musical sound can be similar to these two bands, Twilight still does a phenomenal job being unique with their mixing and presentation. 

One of the most influential songs for me has to be “I/m Not Here [missing face].” An incredibly interesting name to say the least. A song about romantic intimacy and trust, hammering in the nail of self worth. It is this fear of not being everything you want to be. The expectation you are meant to set for yourself and to those around you. The chorus really emulates this, through its repetition and ever so slight wordplay: 

“I don’t want to be around you anymore. 

I can’t stand to be around you anymore. 

You don’t want to be around me anymore

I don’t want to be around me anymore.” 

Despite the redundancy, it’s a matter of fact. The frustration of being pushed away, only to be coupled with the understanding that your own self might be the very thing causing your frustration, only drives home the song’s point. The want for something more in one’s relationships, with your own flaws tainting the idealization of your romance. It is a narrative on the idolization of one’s trust towards another, ultimately failing as neither can live up to the romantic potential they want.

That hit home, for some reason. I don’t understand why their sound resonated with me so much. Me and my dad bounded over their music, listening to their albums on long car rides. It was the joy of finding something small and being able to properly enjoy all the aspects for myself. Sure it’s hard to express my interest and love for their sounds and lyrics, but I also don’t really need to do so to truly enjoy the music. Learning of their sound allowed me to become more deeply invested in musical artists in general, garnering a better appreciation for the work and thoughts behind musical composition and creation.

In The Twilight Sad discography, they’ve lost their founding bassist and drummer, with James Graham staying for the vocals. On the topic of James Graham, what a wonderful vocalist. He’s a man who can create impact where appropriate, and the frustration with the topics he sings shows. Graham is amazing at bringing his lyrics to life, giving them just enough passion that if someone else sang, it wouldn’t be the same band or idea at all. 

Opening for The Cure’s 2023 Tour, The Twilight Sad has been opening for The Cure since 2016. The most frustrating part of their music and career is their lack of exposure. No slight to them, they can’t control who enjoys their music. But we’re talking 57k monthly listeners on spotify. Seriously? In and of itself, this is a point of contention in the music industry; Indie bands and Record Labels. If they never opened for The Cure, I would have never learned of their existence to begin with. 


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About the Contributor
Ethan Coleman, Editor
Ethan Coleman Spread Co-Editor One of our very hardworking editors, when he and Vee put their heads together they make incredible pages.
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