I love '80s cover bands.
This was the only sentence my brain could even attempt to manifest during my most recent encounter with the Fly-By Radio at a bar a few weeks ago.
For those of you regrettably unaware of Birmingham's '80s metal lovechild, all you need to know is that their purpose, their mission, their grail is to allow young millennials, such as ourselves, to enjoy a fast-paced and singalong-filled trip to into the long-haired, leather and leopard-print glamor of the Reagan years.
Even if it is only for a few songs and a few mixed drinks before stumbling back to our apartments and back into the likes of our euphonically bland 21st century.
Before I returned from The Hill to my home for the night and my imminent hangover, I experienced one of the most memorable nights of my entire life. For four hours, from opening note to the final chord, I was transplanted by what must have been my '80s self. My jeans felt like they were acid washed, my jacket somehow became denim and shamelessly sleeveless, my hair was beautifully feathered; I left my face at the bar, for it had been rocked off long before the encore.
I know what you are thinking. It is easy to tune out the significance of a traveling cover band, attributing its marginal success to cheesiness, cheap liquor, loose inhibitions and inability to acquiesce to the times, but, these supposed admonitions are exactly why '80s cover bands are so talented and are why not only every single millennial at this university, but in the entire United States, should experience one of their shows.
As college students, we constantly seek this idea of profoundness. It is inherent to our nature as scholars. Science majors want to uncover the next great human achievement, humanities majors want to find and/or create the fundamental moods and opinions of their or someone else's generation, business majors want to economize and maximize profit and human capital and the list goes on.
Pressure pushes us to discover unlike any other generation of Americans to have ever come before us. We are being surpassed in numerous areas by nations around the world – our economy is sluggish and impotent – and we have no great cathartic experience linking us across our country.
This constant search for erudition is brutally tiring and can seem to be perpetually futile.
But there is hope behind the eyeliner.
We need to change the focus of our search for this great experience or great understanding from the grandiose, and examine again the simple and the candid; we need not look any further than '80s cover bands.
Despite the elaborateness of the outfits, of the guitar solos and of the methods to get into those ungodly tight pants, there is profoundness in the simplicity of '80s music. Power chords, easy to remember lyrics and simple themes of love, sex and rock 'n' roll still have people wailing at the top of their lungs to this day.
None of it is complex, but these simple components come together to create something truly profound. The experience brings complete strangers together to throw their fists in the air and leave their troubles at the door.
That is what all of us students need, especially in one of the most stressful and pressurized stints of our entire lives – what and how well we study may not only affect our lives, but the lives and well-beings of innumerable others around us.
There is a reason the Pride of the Southland Band plays "Livin' On a Prayer" at every single home game. It is a 30-second opportunity to bond with a complete stranger over your mutual love for belting that chorus; a 30-second chance to ignore how bad we are in the second half; more importantly, it is a 30-second reprieve from the pressures of the taxing everyday life of a student hoping to somehow find the next big thing in science, literature or even in just themselves.
Take that 30 seconds and turn it into four hours with Fly-By Radio or one of the many other '80s band circulating the South. You may find what you've been searching for this whole time – profoundness in leopard-skin pants and rock 'n' roll.
Chase Parker is a junior in biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology. He can be reached at email@example.com.