Article by Michael Obrecki
When a band decides to no longer be a band the reaction is swift. Fans cause an uproar and beg for one more show! (as long as it’s near their town). People who dislike the band point out that they were never any good anyway. A band might even become more successful after the breakup. They might even get a hastag out of the whole thing. Change happens whether you like it or not, all good things end. The Swellers let the world know they would be retiring from being an active band earlier this summer. I believe the reason we feel so attached to bands and are sad to see them go is because of the memories we share. The Swellers were the soundtrack to a lot of great memories I had. I’m writing this as a fan who’s sad to see one of his favorite bands call it a night.
I never understood why The Swellers didn’t become a more successful band. I first heard the song “Sleeper” on the 2010 Warped Compilation. I was instantly a fan. I didn’t have to wait long for a new album. Good For Me was released on June 14th 2011. That record made me fall in love with The Swellers. In an article written by Jonathan Diener of The Swellers, he describes the album “We were listening to Foo Fighters and Jimmy Eat World nonstop and finally wanted to make a big rock record without any fast punk beats. To us, it was a no brainer, but to the rest of our punker fan base, we were unknowingly committing sacrilege”. I’m not sure if I didn’t get the memo or maybe I’m just a poser but when I listened to Good For Me the first time it sounded like a punk record. It sounded like a punk record because it was The Swellers. Sure maybe there were no “punk beats” but that didn’t matter to me then and it still doesn’t.
“The Best I Ever Had” is my favorite song off Good For Me. It was my anthem. As soon as I heard it I called my friends and told them they had to hear it. For that summer nothing else mattered but The Swellers. “The Best I Ever Had” quickly became the song we ended every band practice with. While it didn’t sound anything like the original, to us it was perfect. The song meant something to us. It was the dream. Just like the song we were planning our escape; we wanted our songs to have meaning. We also were searching for our own angel. It might be hard to describe in text but that song means the world to me.
The Light Under Closed Doors was released on October 29th 2013 and would become the final Swellers Record. In my opinion, the album is one of the best power-emo records of all time. On the same level as Parks It Won’t Snow Where You’re Going. “Got Social” is a classic song and I couldn’t believe it didn’t catch on with more people. With all the lyrics I see on Tumblr with a majestic forest background I think someone missed the boat on putting You got social and I don’t like it in front of a tree. Maybe it was too simple and not enough of a metaphor for some.
In a short blog post The Swellers wrote “We honestly don’t know what’s next”. As a fan I was scared of what this meant but thoughts of retirement never really crossed my mind. To me it became clear after listening to the last song on The Light Under Closed Doors “Call It A Night”.
I guess that maybe you’ve been unimpressed with all of this…I’ll find my way back home when I’m out of places to go. I’m done shoveling snow…We can call it a night. The song had nods to previous Swellers songs and summed up (to me as a fan listening) what the band felt.The band is letting go which I understand but I have a lot of respect for The Swellers giving fans the opportunity to do the same. The Band will be playing farewell shows this fall and I can guarantee you’ll see me at one.
I don’t know why The Swellers didn’t “make it”. Maybe they didn’t have a good merch design, they didn’t have a catchy slogan, or maybe people were intimidated when Nick Diener got buff. There is one thing I wanna clear up. In a recent article written by Jonathan Diener titled The Life and Death of a Mid-Level Band: The End of the Swellers Jonathan lists things that the band may have done wrong including “Maybe we shouldn’t have been so accessible to our fan base”. As Daniel Bryan would say “No!” The Swellers are great to their fans and should be celebrated for it.
I will end this in the immortal words of the Ultimate Warrior “What That Man Did In His Life Makes The Blood Pulse Though The Body Of Others”