I’m pretty sure you’ve heard at least once in your life that “music brings people together” (or something like it). I’ve read it on corny coffee mugs, decorative wall plaques for your living room, and quote blogs that aim to inspire. And yeah I believed it but didn’t really believe it you know, it was like something you see in rom-coms and Disney movies.
But now I think I believe it. Kinda?
Let me regale you with some of my music history: back in high school, I had two favorite bands, two bands that I absolutely loved and fangirled over like nothing else: There for Tomorrow and Tokio Hotel. Both bands helped me through lots of things, and I still remember which song got me through which situation. Moreover, I had a friend in high school who loved Tokio Hotel as much as I did and we bonded over the band and became really close friends, fangirling together, defending the band to others who had the audacity to make fun of them, and making Tokio Hotel gifts for each other. In junior year of high school, I saw There for Tomorrow in concert for the first time and got to meet and take a photo with every member except the guitarist (at the end of the concert, a machine went wrong and filled the room with smoke that left residue on my boots. I’ll always remember how Jay, the bassist, bent to brush it off my boots when I pointed it out to him–such a sweet gesture!!). It was a golden time.
Then things kind of cooled. My friend and I grew apart and stopped talking altogether; There for Tomorrow, whose last album came out in 2011, didn’t release any new albums for the next two years. They quietly did their own things, and it looked like the band members were growing apart; Tokio Hotel, whose last album came out in 2009, lapsed into an even longer silence and didn’t release any new albums either, though they did other things like judging a German reality talent show, and interacting with fans.
Finally, circumstances changed in 2014. There for Tomorrow self-released a new EP. And for the first time in two years, they posted a new photo of the whole band laughing together. Fans were elated–I was elated. But then they posted an announcement, suddenly confirming their long period of inactivity and what looked like the band members growing apart: they were ending the band. They’d decided to explore new career options their music had opened up for them, and would be playing farewell shows in their hometown Orlando, Florida.
I was heartbroken to say the least. No more new music from a band I’d always loved. I wouldn’t even get to see their farewell shows, being here in NYC. But I was grateful for the fact that I had seen them live at least once before they separated.
At nearly the same time, Tokio Hotel, after five years, emerged with a new album and a new experimental sound, straying from their usual alternative rock to more electronic. They also looked different–Bill, the lead singer, is of course forever changing his appearance, but guitarist Tom and bassist Georg also had new looks (and looked 10 times more attractive because of it).
And then, my Tokio Hotel friend from high school, who I had not talked to for about four years now, suddenly sent me a friend request. Surprised, I accepted and sent her the video for the single, Run, Run, Run, from their new album, with the message “for old times’ sake.” She responded instantly and we talked about the new album, the band members’ new appearances and how cute they looked, their new music videos, etc and it was as if we’d never stopped talking. We just fell right back into the old rhythm and bonded again over Tokio Hotel. So the band brought us together (again) in a way?
Now that There for Tomorrow isn’t together anymore, I find myself leaning on Tokio Hotel for support. Here I am, crediting them for my friendship with this girl back when we were 14, and crediting them again now, because they’re the reason we’re talking so effortlessly again. I just feel so glad that, where my other favorite band has broken up, where almost everything else has changed, Tokio Hotel, a band that has been together since 2001 (2001 !!) has not broken up, are still together, are still happy together as a band and are still making music.
Some fans don’t like it when their favorite bands experiment with new sounds but I found myself actually liking the fact that Tokio Hotel was trying out something new. I appreciated the effort. Maybe because I’ve entered a new phase in my life? Maybe because I’m about to become a year older in exactly one month from now and still can’t wrap my head around it? Maybe because I realize things are changing little by little and these changes are just preparing me for the bigger changes that are coming? They’ve grown up and I’ve grown up, and I know what it’s like to want to try something new.
So I guess you could say that as Tokio Hotel understands me, I understand them.
Here’s the video for the single from their new album.