So, what gives us hope?
Jonny Boucher, Hope For The Day founder
The fact that there are so many different genres and so many styles and feelings that you get from music is beyond my No. 1 thing that gives me hope. The fact that I have services like Spotify and YouTube and other things to be exposed to the music I really love is like the main thing that gives me hope for the day.
PERSONAL GOALS AND CHALLENGES
Sometimes we get away from who we are. The ability to overcome the challenges that people put in front of me, the possibilities and what-ifs and the setting of personal goals that allow me to become more compassionate for others as well as myself gives me hope.
The art of adventure and exploring the world—the possibilities in it are endless. That’s such a driving thing for me. I’m never going to be one of those people that gets into a habit or a routine and is satisfied with it. I know there’s so much out there, and what sucks is that I won’t be able to see it all. But the moment I go out, I’ll be screaming and holding on for dear life so that I can maybe see just a little bit more of it before the lights go out.
Scott Heisel, AP managing editor
Sigur Rós' “Inní mér syngur vitleysingur“
Sigur Rós are experts at evoking the strongest, most visceral human emotions without having to resort to using the English language, but I think my all-time favorite moment of their entire catalog is “Inní mér syngur vitleysingur.” It's a triumphant march guided by sweeping strings and a punchy horn section, and if you ever find yourself walking in lockstep to its beat (as I did one night in 2008 as I exited a plane), you'll unlock the song's secret and understand just why it can give so much hope.
Out of my personal top 20 releases of 2012, nearly half were debut albums records made by new bands. Some were young (Young Magic, Masked Intruder) others were built out of the ashes of legendary bands (forgetters, Classics Of Love), but it all gave me hope that music isn't a field completely devoid of new ground to be broken. There's nothing more exciting than listening to a debut album by a brand new band and marveling at how creative and moving the music is. I don't know what I would do if the world ran out of new music.
THOSE WHO FIGHT FOR LGBT RIGHTS
I'm a straight, white male. In today's society, that's practically akin to being born with a silver spoon in my mouth. But I am eternally grateful for those who continue to fight for the rights of gays, lesbians and transgendered people the world over. I wish I had more time in my life to help the cause along, but the fact that hundreds of thousands of people have banded together in recent years to push through human rights legislation aimed at giving everyone the opportunity to love whoever they like without fear of discrimination or violent reprisal is truly inspirational, and it gives me long-lasting hope that the future will be a better place for those who follow me.
Brittany Moseley, AP associate editor
I know it's not very punk-rock to actually get along with your parents, but it wouldn't be my first offense against the music gods. My parents have always believed in me and whatever goal I set for myself—whether it was my childhood dream of becoming the first woman president or my much more thought-out dream of becoming a writer. When I graduated college and moved home with no job prospects beyond the local Gap, my parents' support never faltered. After one year and three months spent working part-time jobs and completing 209 job applications, followed by 10 months of Corporate America, I finally landed my job at AP. My parents always said it would work out. As usual, they were right.
Like many of my favorite bands, I discovered Say Anything through AP. I didn't know much about the band, but after their December 2007 cover story where I read about Max Bemis' struggles with bipolar disorder, I immediately bought …Is A Real Boy (plus the bonus CD, …Was A Real Boy.) At the time, I was dealing with my own issues, and when Max sang, “I am stuck on your bedroom floor/With the thought that I may not be/As great as those who came before,” I felt reassured. It sounds odd to say these melancholy, angst-ridden, personal lyrics reassured me. Max reminded me that all of us have problems and god-awful times in our lives. He also gave me hope that I wasn't alone. We're all a bit weird and messed up, but eventually, things will get better. They did for Max and they did for me.
MY FAVORITE COLLEGE PROFESSOR
Jacquie Marino introduced me to narrative journalism, In Cold Blood and Hunter S. Thompson. She understood why Lester Bangs was so important to me, and although I've never told her, I have a feeling she would know exactly what I meant if I told her I want to be like Anna Quindlen when I grow up. I already knew I wanted to be a journalist before I walked into Jacquie's feature writing class my junior year, but after that class, she made me want to be a better journalist. Esquire magazine has her to thank for my subscription. She constantly referenced the magazine in class, and it wasn't long before I picked up a copy and fell in love with the writing of Tom Chiarella, Chris Jones and Tom Junod. I don't know if I'll ever see my name in the pages of Esquire, but because of Jacquie, I think I've at least got a chance of it happening.
Jason Pettigrew, AP editor in chief
POLITICIANS WHO PUT PEOPLE OVER PARTY LINES
The most telling thing about the last election wasn't President Obama securing a second term. It was the Congressmen and women who acknowledged that no forward motion could be made in those quarters and decided not to pursue re-election. Plenty of people are quick to sneer the term “career politicians,” so what does it tell you about people who are willing to walk away from their alleged cushy occupation? These gestures give me hope Americans will realize exactly how bad the impasse is between the branches of government and that they will hold their elected representatives to a higher regard than ever before.
BANDS WITH SOMETHING TO OFFER
Nothing fills my heart with hope more than bands or artists with enough determination, vision and hunger to want to raise the bar creatively, instead of following in the gloppy, muddy footsteps of what is currently selling. I hope this year, Heisel bounds into my office at least twice a month roaring, “You of all people, need to hear this, like, right now.”
If Danny DeVito and Rhea Pearlman and Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore taught us anything this year, it's that finding unconditional love from another human being is finite at best. But if you've ever had a horrible day/week/month, you'll find the darkness can be lifted by the presence of another species. On reflection, I've had two smokin' girlfriends that had worse breath than my dogs and they left me far more rudderless than the four-legged skinheads that wake me up at 6 a.m. to get fed. Go to an animal shelter and help yourself—and someone else.
Cassie Whitt, AP web content administrator
MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE
14 is a miserable age for everyone, myself included. In 2004, I became so emotionally desperate that I couldn’t have named one thing that gave me hope—until I saw the music video for “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” on television one day. I saw and heard myself in the music and could sense that my life was about to be turned around and that I was going to be a part of something amazing and much larger than myself by becoming an MCR fan. MCR gave me something to hold onto that day. They continue to inspire and teach me daily. The fact that artists who can make art that powerful even exist gives me hope.
THE INSTINCT TO HELP OTHERS
For me, it’s much easier to spot things that are wrong with me or that I dislike than it is to see the good. However, when I feel the instinctual pull to want to help someone who asks for advice or to carry groceries for a random, struggling stranger in a parking lot, I know I can’t be all that bad.
Everyone talks up the ones they love, but I genuinely believe that my grandmother (Meme, as I called her) was one of the best humans in the world. I spent much of my childhood at her cabin, where she taught me to value and use art as a comfort and way to express myself. She used to let me pound away on her typewriter and ruin all her paintbrushes just because I loved to create, and she loved to see me create. When she passed away two years ago, I felt for a long time that I had lost the only person who truly believed in me. I felt lost, but as I used my writing and art to cope, I realized she left me with a beautiful gift that I’ll never lose. The love she left with me makes me want to pass it on in her memory.
Stay tuned for Hope For The Day lists from artists in the coming weeks.