In reviewing this song I will try to avoid channeling too much of my inner fanboy because I am well aware of the fact that something that might seem like a perfectly Nathanish song may not resonate with other people . That said, since I have already referenced this song in two separate blog entries , and since I still repeatedly play it on Youtube, and since this is the first hit song by a band that deserves some attention, this is a song that is crying out to be reviewed, so I will oblige. I would like to speak first about the band, then about the lyrics, and then about the other elements of the song that make it particularly appealing, in the hope that the song will be as enjoyable to you all as it is to me . With that said, let us begin.
When I first heard this song played on Portland’s alternative radio stations intermittently, it took some time to find out the title of the band and song. I had never heard of the band Finish Ticket, and I thought the title would be longer than “Color.” Looking at the band’s history, I saw that the band had self-produced a debut release, and then a later album “Tears You Apart” that got picked up and re-released by Elektra records, and they have had an EP release for the label, and are likely working on their major label debut. “Color” was the first release of theirs to hit any chart , and it hit #24 on the alternative charts and #45 on the rock airplay charts. I suppose it was a bit lucky that I had heard of this song, as the main way most people have appeared to have heard of them is their work opening a recent tour by Twenty-One Pilots  or their own touring. I’ve listened to some of their live footage, and an amusing interview of the band, made up of two sets of siblings along with a couple of other musicians, one of which is a touring guitarist, and the band seem like a really likeable group of people you would love to sit on the bus with or backstage while eating tour food and just chat about life. The band had started while they were in high school and had a hiatus while the band members explored college but they are back and making good music.
As is often the case with songs I review, the lyrics of this song  are particularly powerful and personally relevant. The first verse of the song goes as follows: “Hoping for a change / Running from the noise inside my brain, the stranger on my face. / Something’s gotta give. / We’re going through the motions, paralyzed; I’ll freeze up every time.” From the beginning we see the picture of a young man in an undesirable situation hoping for a change, running from the thoughts going on inside of him, with a strange look on his face, knowing that something is going to have to change as he is feeling the fight, flight, or freeze instinct particularly strongly. Without wasting any time the song goes right for intense and driving feeling that many people, myself included, can strongly relate to.
Just as quickly, the song goes to a pre-chorus and chorus that continue the intensity as follows: “What the hell do I know? Looking for an answer. / Learn from my mistakes; the cycle starts again. / Amplify this feeling, a feeling I remember. / On the edge of something, the edge of so…/ All my dealings are behind me. / Everything was black and white inside, / But I’m seeing color. / We grow as we learn to let go, / Pushing through the black and white. / See in color.” The chorus continues the intensity, as the narrator continues to look for an answer to why life has to go the way it does, trying to break the cycles of mistakes, reflecting over actions in order to seek insight, recognizing the danger of the present, and realizing that he needs to let go and overcome the past, seeing himself and others in color and grant himself, and likely others, some sort of forgiveness and a fresh start.
The second verse continues where the first one leaves off: “Outside of our skin / Waiting my whole life just to begin. / Patient, but giving in. / Still, I celebrate / Stronger with each scar and each scratch that I’ve collected.” Here we see a defiant spirit of someone waiting for life to begin, patient but feeling it difficult to avoid surrendering to the sense of panic and concern, celebrating that he has gotten stronger with every scar and wound collected from a difficult life. The song lacks specificity about what it is that the singer is frustrated about, but it contains a great deal of emotional detail about the feelings of the author and his determination to grow and improve. It is an admirable and brave sentiment to express, part of a body of work that is full of emotional depth.
The bridge of the song adds more relevant emotional depth, saying: “And I don’t speak, speak my mind. / I’ve been frequently behind. / I’ve been blind in my reason and my cause. / When we wanted to find what’s been rolling out my mind, / I’ve been lost in my reason and my cause.” How many of us have had this sort of problem? We suffer massive communication problems with those around us, so consumed with what we are going through and what we are feeling and thinking about that we are unable to successfully relate to others, even when we want to let them know what we are thinking about. Again, this is not a song seeking to blame a partner, but is rather about self-expression, and is a successful effort. The rest of the song consists of evocative parts of the pre-chorus and the chorus mixed together.
There is a lot about this song to like apart from its lyrics. The singer and the band are fully committed to this music, and every other song of theirs I have heard as well, with melodic guitar riffs, pounding drums, and lyrics that would not be out of place from Young The Giant or a more alternative Walk The Moon. Considering how good those bands, those are not bad things to be in the least. I’m not sure how Finish Ticket got their name, but they are a band that appears to deserve the success that they have had, and they appear to be decent people with a fair amount of reflection and a sense of brotherhood among themselves, and the ability to craft really lovely songs full of melodic riffs and thoughtful lyrics. I could see myself listening to this band for a long time, and I’m hoping that they stay together and make some great music in the future. In the meantime, we have an ode to seeing ourselves and others for all of our complexity and showing our defiant stand against merely repeating the mistakes of the past. And that is sentiment worth reveling in for a bit. Let me go to listen to the song yet again.
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www.azlyrics.com/f/finishticket.html (look under Color)