'Front Row Seat' Was the Best Album of 2015
I am saying this without looking at the other albums that came out in those 52 weeks, but the album that has stuck with me the most in the 2 years since it's release is Josh Abbott Band's 2015 album Front Row Seat. Split into five acts, it explores the entire cycle of a relationship from single and free, to being in love, back to being alone. It is one of the most cleverly put together albums. It tells a story and the track listing means something.
Semi-autobiographical, Josh Abbott puts everyone in the front row seat to watch him tell a story of what happened in his life. Each act has also managed to be a stage in my life at least once since it hit shelves. I'd like to tell you why this album means so much to me.
Act 1: Exposition
Happy songs. Single songs. What you hear on the radio, save the drum beats and pop elements. Act 1 explores the feeling of being single and carefree. These are not sad songs about being alone. It's about being young and wild. Girls are fun, but so is being yourself and living life to its fullest without commitment.
Act 1 can be summed up as college for me. I have never had a more carefree time in my life. Every day was an adventure with friends. Every night was a party and we lived our lives to the fullest.
Act 2: Incitation
Meeting someone. Falling for that someone. You don't know where it's going to lead, but the idea of meeting the one makes your heart skip a beat (or five). Whether it's a party or through mutual friends, you begin to talk and continue to do so because the chemistry is there. You're excited to see what the future has to hold. Act 2 also introduced us to the amazingly talented Carly Pearce.
Act 2 was a few years after college. My party days mostly subsided outside of the occasional weekend. I began dating. It was a road I wanted to head down. I dated a handful of girls, but none of them ever felt right, until one day, I said hello to a beautiful girl, and I couldn't believe it when she actually replied.
Act 3: Intimacy
Love. Commitment. These songs are for the ones who know that their heart isn't mistaken. You have found the one. You're planning a future together. You know that you could never do better and wonder why she has settled for you. Everything you do is for her. Your heart is in her hands.
Act 3. She was the one. I was sure of it. If you told me one day I'd wake up and she'd be gone, I would not have believed you. Despite the fact that she was out of my league, I felt a connection I thought was impossible to break. She knew how to make me smile and everything felt natural. I never had to fake anything when I was around her. Act 3's tracks fit in my life like I never thought they would.
Act 4: Disillusion
Heartbreak. Sadness. You have no idea where it went wrong. If you have an idea, you're wondering how you can stop the ship from sinking. This is the hardest step in a relationship. Has it gone up in flames or can you salvage anything from the wreckage? It doesn't matter who messed it up, but it will take both parties to try and fix it.
In May, I lost track of how many time the songs Ghosts and This Isn't Easy (Her Song) played on my Spotify account. Everything that seemed to be so perfect, from her, to my apartment, to the happiness I felt, was gone. Friends couldn't believe me when I said that she just upped and left. It came seemingly out of nowhere, and I wasn't good enough to keep her happy.
Act 5: Denouement
Forgetting. Moving on. Once the fire has subsided and the embers have turned to ash, you have to pick yourself up and move on. Every happy memory, every sad talk, every angry fight. It flows through your head and can drive you mad. Every wound heals with time and every heart learns to love again. It isn't easy, but everyone gets there.
Act 5. I learned to smile again. She was a bump in my road, but I would become a better man because of it, not lesser. She broke my heart, but I managed to piece is back together. I know not to let someone else effect my attitude when I cannot change the end result. Do I occasionally wonder if things could have gone differently? Of course. Did I want everything to go back to where we were? Sure. Do I regret anything? Never.
Relationships are a cycle, and one day, it will stop spinning for everyone. One day, you'll land in Act 3. Until that day, try to live every day like Act 1. I'm single now, but beer with my friends is a better way to spend my time than wondering why she walked out on me.
I am very excited for Josh Abbott Band's new album, but until it's released, check out Front Row Seat now.