“And it takes more time than I’ve ever had, 

Drains the life from me,
Makes me want to forget. 
As young as I was, I felt older back then 
More disciplined, stronger and certain 
But I was scared to death of eternity 
I was saved by grace, 
But destroyed by naivety  
And I lied to myself 
And said ‘It’s for the best.'” 
~It’s For the Best 
Straylight Run, Straylight Run
This used to be one of my favorite songs, back in ’04 when this record and its emo counterparts were all my friends and I could take in. It soundtracked late night car rides with boys I couldn’t wait to kiss, basement sleepovers with girlfriends talking about the nerves and the newness of it all. I remember signing along, like we knew what it meant to stumble and settle. But this song, today, does not bring me back to those times. A decade later it is manifest, here and actualized in the present. 
I may have loved this song when I was 16, but I understand it now. 
Straylight Run may have only had modest success past their debut, but the way the self-titled has withstood the test of time makes up for that. Desperate and damaged but clear-eyed enough to know it, it is a timeless tribute to the pains and longings of self-realization, one that is beautifully played and performed. The production is meticulous, and so tasteful for a rock band of this era, with a blend of piano and strings supplementing John Nolan’s distressed belt and whispered whimpers. Everything about this record, from steady drum rolls to pounded-out chords and backing harmonies, is measured and polished, giving elegance to bitterness, and I think that’s why I can listen to it today and fall into it as much as I did once before. 
This is one of those albums where I’ve memorized the words to the point of mantra (“We’ll move forward/sad strong, safe and sober/We’ll move forward/And know where we went wrong”).  I connected instantly to the eloquence and desolation, and though my life hardly looks like what it did in 2004, such connections remain. On a day when no song feels sad enough and solace is hard to come by, I find a mirror buried under 10 years worth of life, lessons and memories. 
“And now faith is replaced with a logic so cold, 
I’ve disregarded what I was, 
Now that I’m older. 
And I know much more than I did back then. 
But the more I learn, 
the more I can’t understand. 
And I’ve been content with this life that I lead 
Where I drink too much 
And don’t believe in much of anything 
And I lie to myself 
And say ‘It’s for the best.’

We’re moving forward but holding ourselves back, 
And we’re waiting on something that’ll never come. 
We’re moving forward but holding ourselves back, 
And we’re waiting on something that’ll never come.

And I lie to myself, and say, ‘It’s for the best.'”
~It’s For the Best 
Straylight Run, Straylight Run