OLP – 17 Years Ago They Changed My Life, I Just Didn’t Know It Then
Last week I found myself back in a time I had forgotten.
Let me explain.
Three weeks ago I learned that my favorite band (Our Lady Peace or OLP) growing up was coming to town. There was a time when I saw them each and every time they came to town. I was proud to tell everyone that I knew I had watched them perform 7 times in 6 years. If there is such as thing as a “Super Fan”, I was definitely one of them.
Lately (the last 14 years), I couldn’t be bothered to see them. Times changed and so have I.
It wasn’t because I didn’t enjoy their music anymore. Nor was it because I simply grew out of them. No, it was more so because as I aged, so too did my priorities. I placed a rule upon myself that wouldn’t permit me to see any band I had already watched before. I created a list of about three bands that I had never watched, and those were the only ones I could go and see. I’ve seen two of them to date.
This begrudgingly included OLP as a band I couldn’t see…
Even still, my method worked.
As mentioned, three weeks ago, I learned they were coming to town and something inside me said that I had to attend. So, for the first time in 7 years, I bucked my rule and went.
In the two weeks leading up to the show, I did what I always used to do before a concert and actively listened to the music of whomever I was seeing. I do this not because I need a reminder of the lyrics they sing but rather to get myself into the proper mental state. You know…concert state.
As I hummed, sang, and whistled each song that played on my playlist, I found myself lost in the yesteryears of my life. As The Birdman bellowed through my hallways, I was taken back to a time where I didn’t care about things as much as I do now. It felt…nice. Listening to OLP and their songs turned each moment and beat into a beautiful reminder of all that was good and is good in my life.
For two weeks my anticipation grew and for two weeks I digested each album in the order that OLP released them.
- Naveed – The debut album but not the first one that I listened to
- Clumsy – This is where it actually began for me
- Happiness Is Not A Fish That You Can Catch – Lyrically impactful now more than when it was released
- Spiritual Machines – A conceptual album far beyond anything I had heard before
Yeah, Spiritual Machines.
This album is the quintessential masterpiece from OLP. This album and the themes it contained were so far ahead of its time that it couldn’t possibly have received the appreciation it deserved. It didn’t and as such, it will forever hold a special place in my heart.
I spent the better part of one week re-evaluating and reanalyzing each lyric as they were sung. As I listened I became more lost in its central theme. With each word it became apparent that as good as it was back in 2000, there was content I couldn’t have understood in my youth.
I now realize that this album was one of the first things outside of my family and friends to challenge my personal beliefs and thoughts. Spiritual Machines opened my eyes and my mind to a new way of thinking.
It made me wonder if we are overly reliant on the things that we create?
“I have been good I understood and
Like a machine they’ll fix you from
The start I’m in repair the life that
We share I know that I’ll be lost
But we are always in repair”
– OLP “In Repair”
Take technology as an example.
I sit here and argue that modern technology has become more tangled into to our existence than anything before it. Our desire to be interconnected has circumvented nearly every aspect of our lives. It has glued itself to our bodies, minds, and spirits and proclaimed itself an extension of who we are.
Through it, we can access more information and we can do it quicker than at any point in our timeline. Updates no longer exist because we are all up-to-date. Satellites and GPS have made human tracking easier than we could have hoped. There is no more hiding from the world.
The moment that we turn our various devices on, we allow strangers into our houses. The cameras on our phones, the video games we play, and the televisions that we watch all see to it that these strangers get in. In fact, each time we connect one them we have practically opened our front doors and said, “Hey, come on in.”
In 2017, our children are growing up in a world that looks nothing like it did when we feared that Y2K would reset us back to the Stone Age.
And we can’t escape it.
Technology has made its way into the very thing that we prize over all else…our bodies. It has allowed us to live without worry of our own well-being. Instead of actually taking care of ourselves, we simply acknowledge that we can do better. We do this because we can receive:
- Knee replacements when our own weight topples them like falling trees
- Heart transplants when ours become too blocked by the fats we consume
- Liver replacements to counteract the damage we knowingly inflict on them
- Metal rods in our legs for irreparable accidents
- Pacemakers for our worn out hearts
- Screws that keep us intact
- Machines that function like our kidneys
This is only the beginning.
“And it’s good to know that you’ll drive away
From this car crash nightmare and
I’ll be there to help you again there’s
No danger we’re just killing time
Again until they order up new parts”
– OLP “In Repair”
“…Until they order up new parts…”
It all comes at a cost.
At the occurrence of each technological advancement, we seemingly become more like the objects that we can’t live without. I dare say, with each advancement, we are becoming as robotic as the machines that we’re building. Our interaction amongst each other is on the incline but the emotional connection in the conversation seems to be on the decline.
Why shake hands when a thumbs up image will do, right?
At what cost is our future worth sacrificing for? How much is too much? I wonder if in my lifetime (50+ more years) are we going to continue our push to resemble only something of a human being? Will the human in human being cease to exist?
I suppose the answer to each of these and more is up to all of us.
Technological advancement is the future but it cannot occur without us remembering what it is that is advancing. Remember, we are human and as such, we are unique. We have made it this far not solely because of technological advancement. We have made it this far because we haven’t forgotten who and what we are.
Technology cannot experience life the way that we can. It cannot taste, touch, see, hear, or smell the world around it. We can. It cannot instill habits, create change, understand fear, live with purpose, or create its own legacy. We can. Remember, it cannot function without us but we can function without it.
In a world saddled by technology, we can do simple things to keep control of our own lives.
First, we must remember that we control technology and not the other way around. Technology is there to aid and assist us. It is designed to make our lives easier and relieve us of the things that would otherwise hinder our progress. If we remember this, we will allow technology to serve its purpose.
Second, technology has been developed to alleviate the pain that we may inevitably find ourselves in. A heart attack can be debilitating but through technology, not only can we survive one but we can thrive after one. Technology can help those who cannot walk because of tragedy, walk again. What technology cannot do is force us to take the necessary actions to prevent these and more from happening. We must learn to and continue to take care of ourselves.
Third, technology cannot be responsible for our continual education. This falls directly into our laps. It cannot make us pick up a book, watch a documentary, or have conversations that carry more weight than “How are you doing?”. Technology can facilitate a way for this to happen but it cannot force us to act.
Fourth and finally, we must understand that technology will continue its advancement but this doesn’t mean that ours must decline. Our futures belong to ourselves and we are the proverbial captains of our own ships. Whether our ships continue to venture out to sea or remain at the dock is entirely up to us.
Remember, technology is created to aid us, not to inhibit us.
Cheers to your success,