Music Monday: The Way It Is

My 10 year High School Reunion was this past weekend (I’ll skip the existential crisis on here since it’s already been had in the privacy of my bedroom) and I definitely did not attend. No offense to anybody I went to High School with but the last thing I wanted to do on Friday night was attend a reunion in which I’d have to relive my High School experience. I’d like to go on a rant about the terrible mean girls and bullies here but the truth is; I was the mean girl. Thinking about the angry force of nature that I was back then makes my skin crawl so I stayed as far away as possible from the reunion that occurred on Friday night.

I was a plethora of dramatic and mostly angry emotions trapped in the body of a teenager during High School. My poor parents dealt with a rebellious teenager who was certain that she knew what was best for her while making every cliched mistake a high schooler could make. Although I did not attend the reunion, I couldn’t help but reminisce over my high school experience while on a date Friday night. Clearly, I’m tons of fun during dates.

When discussing my high-school-self, I always go back to my overdramatic and continuously heartbreaking love life. Making terrible decisions and dating older guys was my forte in High School, so you can just imagine the amount of heartache I dealt with back then. If my dating life in High School could be described by an album, that album would be The Way It Is by Keyshia Cole.

So this Music Monday we go back and rediscover Keyshia Cole’s debut album.

My adoration of R&B started my Sophomore year of High School and the introduction of Keyshia Cole’s music into my life had me falling deeply in love with a genre of music I was just beginning to discover. The Way It Is was a heartbreaking tale of a woman dissecting every feeling that comes with falling in love and getting your heart broken; little did I know that it would be until my late 20’s that I would truly understand the emotions within this album. Yet, my little teenage-self clutched to the words in these songs as life anthems and as lullabies playing as she cried herself to sleep.

My high school experience was a lonely one, though friends surrounded me, I was carrying secrets too extreme for anyone my age and I continued to fill a void with boys who could never understand the amount of love it would take to heal me. I constantly found myself missing out of high school experiences because laying in bed and crying felt like a better alternative. However, through the loneliest of nights I remember the impact this album made in my teenage heart.

Keyshia’s vocals shook me to my core when I first listened to her, I remember playing “Love” over and over and over again; I was completely amazed by the emotion within every word in the song. “You Changed” helped me gather the strength to break-up with a boy who did nothing but take advantage of how much I cared about him. “I Should Have Cheated” convinced me to look through my then boyfriend’s phone, which was a tragic outcome but it got me out of a terrible relationship. “Never” combined my love of Luther Vandross (I was genuinely obsessed with Luther Vandross in High School) with my obsession over modern R&B in a beautiful and magical way.

So my High School experience wasn’t perfect (far from it) but if anything, I came away with lessons learned and an affinity for beautiful music. Though Keyshia Cole’s music has come in and out of my life since my love affair with The Way It Is. The truth is, I can always go back to her and immediately I feel the excitement of teenage love as well as the chills down the spine that come from the discovery life-changing music.

Keyshia Cole currently has a new album out, 11:11 Reset, and it is worth a listen. Visit her Facebook Page to check out what she’s been up to lately.

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