Midnight Skies speaks for a generation in “We’re Not Okay”

We’re not okay, but leave it to Midnight Skies to make New Release Fridays at least a little bit better. And to, you know, give me the perfect opportunity to flesh out some thoughts that have been swirling around my head for the last week (or three years).

I originally started the All the Alt Things collective with the intention of curating a casual showcase. After years of writing in capacities that demanded hard angles and at least an ounce of professionalism, I was craving a new channel for my (only loosely journalistic) voice. But at some point during the grind, I fell back into that trap of chasing excellence. Then I stalled outright.

I don’t think any of us were well-prepared for how things would change over the last few years—from shutdowns to political divisions, shared trauma, and beyond. For me, that perfectionist paralysis quickly snowballed into overwhelm. The world was becoming a heavier place by the day and the realm of content creation to which I used to escape was simultaneously mutating into a place I no longer recognized.

And with that creeping anxiety came a crushing guilt. Because who am I to feel anything less than great? I’m clothed, I’m fed, and I’m generally safe from all the atrocities we’ve been reading about. Admittedly, the largest challenge I’ve faced today was navigating the new desktop version of Spotify… That’s about as coddled as you can get.

But this is unprecedented territory, the dizzying land of headlines and bottomless feeds. And I know I’m not alone in feeling so small in light of it all. Because, as Midnight Skies so articulately puts it:

“This whole generation’s weighed down and degraded…”

All that to say, I’m saying “fuck it” and cracking through the wall with my head. And who better than to do it with than one of early career favorites? Alright, onto the words you clicked onto this page for…

This week, I had a shocking realization that I hadn’t covered Midnight Skies yet on this outlet—if only because we launched just a little too long after the deluxe release of Disconnect in 2021. But if you were around for my earlier days of artist discovery for I’m Not Okay (I Podcast) and Alternative Press, you’ll know I’ve never been anything short of crazy for these guys.

Once a teen in the height of new wave pop punk, I’ve always had a soft spot for any artist that can call to mind long-gone days of stumbling on the next big thing by hitting that “Preview” button on the iTunes store. Since 2019, this band has tapped that nostalgia consistently track after track with their shimmery brand of edge. They’re evocative of that polished side of Warped Tour, drawing comparisons to bands like All Time Low and Boys Like Girls, without falling into the trap of artificiality.

We’re Not Okay” is no exception to that trend (or do we go ahead and just call it a rule at this point?). This is one of those songs that seems to challenge you to isolate any singular hook. And so far, I’ve noted no fewer than three minutes of them. But coupled with that buoyant delivery is a masterclass of rousing lyricism. Seriously, you could wring out a full puddle of substance onto the floor and those lines would still take days to dry.

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I can only assume I’m speaking for the masses when I say that it’s this kind of duality that provides a cornerstone for the broader genre. Because as much as we love the odd song about young love and fast times, we need those reminders that we’re banded together in the bigger things too. This is a shiny, anthemic proclamation of purpose—something akin to what we could expect to create by dumping My Chemical Romance‘s catalog into a supernova.

Don’t you dare sleep on it.

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