Sorority Noise Just Released One Of The Year’s Best Songs In “Using”

I listen to a lot of music. I figure that I check out at least two new records every week. I like a lot of what I listen to, but every year or so, I hear a song that cuts through the rest, makes my jaw hit the floor, and immediately shines forward as a song that will change the way people think. “Using” by Sorority Noise is one of those songs.

Falling in the middle of the second half of the band’s new record, Joy, Departed, you would not be at fault for overlooking “Using” on initial listens. The song starts out much like the rest of the record, with singer Cam Boucher quietly crooning some dark imagery over a fumbling guitar line: “Needed a distraction from my head, the devil on my shoulder said ‘try this instead,’ / so I started using again.” However, things get interesting as soon as the chorus hits. Guitars hit full power and Boucher screams over the wailing, grunge instrumental: “I stopped wishing I was dead / I learned to love myself before anyone else / Become more than just a burden / I know I’m more than worthy of your time.” This line in particular caught me off guard when I first heard it.

See, the modern emo community has a tendency to glorify depression by writing songs about how cool it is to be bummed out and selling overpriced t-shirts with similar, problematic imagery. “Using” is the first song I have ever heard from a band in this community that makes a point to glorify getting help, finding self-confidence, and seeking recovery in the wake of depression and anxiety. For that, I applaud Sorority Noise.

Aside from lyrical importance, the song is also a total banger – try not to lose your glasses as you bang your head to that chorus, and be especially aware of that perfectly placed key change toward the end.

Check out “Using” over at Alt Press, and read Boucher’s well-written statement on the song below. You can pre-order Joy, Departed now.

In 2012, I saw a therapist for the first time. After fighting demons that expressed themselves in many forms, from suicidal thoughts to bottomless depression to pills, I found it was time to seek help. In 2012 I was diagnosed with manic depression. It took this moment in my life to realize that the thoughts that weighed me down since I was 14 weren’t just there because I induced them, they were there because of a mental illness I had finally discovered. This knowledge both terrified and comforted me because it made me realize what I was feeling would be with me the rest of my life; but in that it provided a reason for me to find a way to make sense of it all.

It took me three years to come to terms with my illness, learn how to cope, and ultimately make it a positive part of my life, through which creativity could be my sword and shield against the parts of my brain that told me there was nothing but darkness. At 22, I can firmly say that I haven’t defeated my depression, nor will I ever, but I have learned to come to terms with myself and make the best of what I have. I have realized that suicide is never the answer and that despite my trials, there is always a brighter end to things than the way I can typically imagine them.

Last week another one of my friends was overcome by their inner demons and committed suicide in New Haven, CT. Along with a number of things in my life, this prompted me to finally utilize the music I play to be a platform to let those who struggle with any mental illness and any drug problem know that it does get better. Death is a final question that should never require an answer, and there is so much of all of our lives left to help the world and help others that a simple leaving of this world is the opposite of what we should consider.

The song “Using” is the first song I’ve ever written that I felt took a positive focus on my life. It allowed me to look back into my life and realize every issue and every struggle I’ve faced and express my realization that no matter how unbelievably terrible things are and how low you feel as a person, there is no greater idea than accepting yourself for what you are and doing your best to make a positive impact on the world you live in. I’m going to continue to try and do my best, but I know that my past and present will continue to haunt me. I will continue to look for the positives and future that I might be able to experience that I didn’t think I would have three years ago.

Depression is not a trend. Depression is not cool. Depression is not hip. It is a serious mental illness that we should help others fight to better their lives as well as our own. Stop glorifying sorrow and start lending a helping hand to those that need it the most.

John Bazley
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