by: Addison Bell
I cried the first time I heard Sigur Rós. I was 18. A friend had given me a copy of Takk… over coffee and I played it on the way home. I had to pull over and calm down. Instead of turning down the music, I turned it up louder. I turned it up and I closed my eyes, because I thought that maybe it was right to cry.
The boy who had given me the CD was the first openly gay male that I befriended. Matt was out, led his high school LGBT group, and was not ashamed of who he was—everything that I was not. I met him when my hatred and disgust of myself had almost reached its peak. When I was with Matt, though, those bad thoughts momentarily faded. He gave me hope that maybe things would get better, that maybe I could be as proud as him one day.
But no matter how much time I spent with him, the secret of my homosexuality still hurt. I was friends with him when the battle with my depression was beginning, which I did not know was happening at the time. My admiration of Matt was slowly turning to envy. I started thinking that I would never have the courage he did, that I would never be able to be who I wanted to be, and, worse, that I would have to carry my secret for the rest of my life.
I cried in my car that day because all I had been hearing were the bad thoughts in my head. I cried because when I put the CD in all I heard was, “Live.” That is what Sigur Rós has been for me ever since. It could be Jónsi’s falsetto or the complex arrangements or how it just haunts you, but I really hear it all as a plea to keep living, because everything will be all right.
Almost two years after hearing Sigur Rós for the first time, I saw Jónsi perform Go live. I cried then too, but it was a different kind of crying. I went to the concert with the first boy I had ever been romantically involved with (see: Beach House article). I looked at the boy when Jónsi performed “Tornado” and I realized that I had survived. I survived the hurt and the pain of trying to be somebody that I never was or could be. I survived, and I was in Chicago loving a person I thought I would never be allowed to love.
I cried later when I listened to ( ) and Jónsi and Alex’s Riceboy Sleeps for a week straight after the boy ended things with me. I listened to their music because I did not want to be sadder—I only wanted to be stronger. For me, Sigur Rós’s music always has and always will represent hope. Sometimes I feel incredibly sad and I do not know why. Sometimes the bad thoughts come back without reason. I listen to Sigur Rós because I know that sometimes they feel sad and hurt too and that it is okay. I listen because life goes on, and things get better. I listen because it is all right.
Addison Bell is a senior at DePaul University where he is studying English Literature. He is the President of Oxfam DePaul and volunteers with Oxfam America, an organization dedicated to ending world hunger, poverty, and social injustice. Follow Addison on Twitter @boy_1904 and on Tumblr: colourmegreenwich.tumblr.com.