I have been a fan of the band Blue October for about five years. It all started on a date with a man whose name I don’t remember (it might have been Carlos). He played the song ‘Into the Ocean’ as we drove up to Lake Tahoe for a day of sledding. Loved the sound-it was upbeat, happy, light. I remembered the name of the group-blue is my favorite color, October my favorite month. As it happens, the ocean is my favorite place. Sample their music here.
Arriving home that night, I downloaded the CD, Foiled, and I listened to the lyrics. Dark. Depressing. A juxtaposition from the sound of the music. I listened to the sounds, blocking out the lyrics I did not understand.
A year or so later, I was depressed. Severely so. As I drove around town, on the freeway between Concord and Berkeley, I found myself asking: would it really matter if I were to run into the concrete divider? Could I dare myself to drive off the steep embankment? I’d never consciously kill myself, I had a daughter after all, but would I ask for chemotherapy if cancer was discovered in my body? No. Death would be a sweet release.
And then I heard ‘Hate Me’ by Blue October come up on my playlist. Lyrics of addiction, thoughts of suicide, begging loved ones to hate so that he could be released from guilt.
Tears streamed down my face as I realized there was someone out there who understood. Someone else who had felt the same dark messages looping through my head. I was not alone. And I was hooked.
For the next few years, every time I felt the insidious deep space of alone, I’d listen to Blue October. And I survived.
On September 16, 2011, I saw Blue October play at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco. They played songs from three different albums: Foiled (2009), Blue Skies (released 2010), and Any Man In America (2011). Their latest album is the heaviest, most angry of the three, as many of the songs are about the pain of divorce from a man’s perspective. I can’t relate. But I am such a fan that I try to understand the perspective of the other sex, admiring the audacity to slam the woman who has made life miserable for the lead singer (Justin).
The poetic raw emotion of the lyrics made me a fan of Blue October–honest reflection of the experience of the heart and mind, regardless of whether it was polite conversation in society. This holds true for the new album. Even though I can’t relate to the experience, I can admire the truth of the person telling the story.
They still have US concert dates for Rochester, Boston, Charlotte, Atlanta, and New Orleans; international dates for Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, The United Kingdom, and Australia. Don’t miss them!