Sean’s Modern Marvels: Mean Everything To Nothing

Posted: by Sean Gonzalez

Once upon a time there was a guy named Sean, who fell in love with a band named Right Away, Great Captain! because he was invested in music that authored a story/concept. A lot of the friends surrounding this young and confused teenager disrespected the music he listened to, so he was searching for more calm music on Pandora while hosting a few friends. While playing the station that was Elliott Smith this band came on and next thing you know Sean found one of the most delicate and sonically soothing albums that he has ever heard, possibly one of the best albums within the past decade by the band Manchester Orchestra.

Sit down and listen to it. Mean Everything To Nothing is a fantastic creation that blends destructive and melodramatic distorted moments with overly intense build ups that lead to the rise and fall of emotions. Andy Hull seemingly taunts us in the opening track ‘The Only One’ where he discusses how bitingly selfish and tongue-in-cheek he really is. I mean he is a bastard of a bastard of the lord. Immediately as ‘Shake It Out’ comes in he is discovering how much of the problem is not the lord or his questionable upbringing but rather himself as the music quiets into a beautiful piano progression twisting around reckless drums and beautiful chords. He then makes a stern discovery that while his relationships and friends maybe on the “right path” or the in the “right place” they don’t want a bastard sticking around to ruin them (‘I’ve Got Friends’). Holy shit this is a lot to take in within the first thirteen minutes yea?

I’ve argued with people by saying ‘Pride’ is the best Manchester Orchestra song ever created. Seeing it live as the ending falls into place is the equivalent of watching your second grade nieces volcano science fair project go horribly wrong and burn the entire school down. The band members turn into carnal-demon representations of music and self destruct as Mr. Hull makes allusions to the arch nemeses of the bible seemingly killing him. Holy Hell he maturely takes on tough subjects in a playful yet relatable manner. What is it he really found in his teeth? Was it the idea that everyone should live their own respectful way and not worry about how another is living, or was it really the $100 dollars he requests for in the next track? I can’t answer the question all I can say is by this point the band must be completely exhausted in creating such dynamic and intense music. 

Regardless of how personal ‘I Can Feel A Hot One’ is to Andy and his dreams, the song resonated with me when my friends have passed away. The haunting guitar melody mixed with an emotional vocal approach soothes the rage and melancholia that rests deep inside my missing heart. ‘My Friend Marcus’ finally has an upbeat and joyous melody ringing to it, maybe to offset all the previous roller coasters of self awareness we have been riding through, with a lyrical content that might be way too oppressive for me to discuss. 

‘Everything To Nothing’ might be the most introspective track to shout along with. Maybe people take it differently, but I often find myself upset with myself and screaming along. I look at myself and then to Francis and realize the most destructive presence of myself is myself. 

All in all I learned a lesson about passion and being emotional. No matter how hard things can be music can always hold a deep enough to make a last synaptic connection with something valuable and worth everything. Or maybe even nothing.