As an avid pop punk lover whose favorite bands are Blink-182 and Green Day, I was really excited to experience Machine Gun Kelly’s award-winning album Tickets to My Downfall live during his 2021 tour. Connecting with other pop punk fans, letting loose, feeling free, and screaming the lyrics were sure to compose the melody of a great night. However, I ended up discovering someone else truly amazing during this concert.
Preceding MGK’s show, an artist named Jxdn took the stage. I had heard about him briefly from my close friend, but I did not know anything else about him. After he played a few songs, I fell in love with his pop punk music, relatable lyrics, and catchy melodies. Twenty-one-year-old Jaden Hossler’s debut album Tell Me About Tomorrow was released in July of 2021, and it came into my life at a time when I really needed it. Although the album came out before the Tickets to my Downfall show I attended in 2021, I didn’t listen to it until a few months after seeing Jaden open for Machine Gun Kelly. My friend again showed me his music and got me into him, and I recognized him.
Jaden gained popularity on TikTok through his single “Comatose.” I personally have never used TikTok, so I never knew about Jaden through that app; I was introduced to him mainly during the Tickets to my Downfall tour. He began using the app in 2019 and has since gained over three million followers. This rise in popularity also increased his followers on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Jaden gained popularity from being part of The Sway House, which is not taken seriously by some, but he stood out from the rest due to his dedication to music and his passion. He did not create music for the hype and money; it was a part of him that he wanted to share with the world to connect to others. He self-released his debut single in January of 2020, and his career sparked from there.
His lyrics “Promise you won’t say goodbye right now. Hold on when you have your doubts. Tell me the things that I don’t know. I’ll tell you about tomorrow” ring true to me, although I never had the chance to say goodbye.
Many of the tracks revolve around having a passionate, untamable relationship that is not healthy in the long run. Tracks like “Braindead,” “Think About Me,” and “Last Time” stand out with the theme of leaving a relationship that you have trouble ending. Wild love that hurts the ones around you is toxic, no matter how bad you pine for it, and Jaden nails the feeling through his emotionally-charged lyrics about having the strength to try to leave. “This is the last time we’ll say that it’s over. Let’s make it easy, this time it won’t hurt. ‘Cause all of our past times end in disaster. Just tell me more lies, like this is the last time” is relatable. The tracks “Better Off Dead” and “WANNA BE” encompass themes of depression and anxiety which remind me that I am not alone through this grieving process. Lyrics like “Sedated, isolated – Lookin’ in the mirror and I hate it. Depressed, I never say it. Find me face down on the pavement. Maybe, it’s all my fault. There’s no one I can call for help. It’s really gettin’ worse than I thought. And I’m done. No prescription makes me better” connect my personal experience to Jaden’s struggle with these inner demons.
Depression is so consuming, and pop punk, especially Tell Me About Tomorrow, is a light in the darkness. Suicide is the twelfth leading cause of death in the United States according to these statistics by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and mental health is increasingly worse with the pandemic and brutality in the world. This album has helped me through the most difficult time of my life. The death of my loved one, dealing with difficult situations, PTSD, anxiety, my medical condition, and learning how to walk away after so many years when I realize I’m the toxic one are subjects Jaden has helped me with. After my favorite person in the world died, I have been trying hard to find ways to make her proud. She was supportive of my writing career, so I know she would be proud that I am putting my pain into writing for others to connect to. Before she died, I told her about everything she had to look forward to in the future. I was telling her about tomorrow; I told her of all the tea parties, Christmases, and shopping trips we still had to make. Now, she is gone. I will never make those memories, but I still have the old ones to hold onto. Jaden’s album was the remedy I needed for the pain.
For my 21st birthday, I went to Jxdn’s Tell Me About Tomorrow tour. Not only was the concert such a memorable experience for me, but I also met Jaden after the show (and held his hand!). He is such a kind artist who appreciates his fans. I also saw Machine Gun Kelly during his Mainstream Sellout tour and met him as well. Both of these shows helped give me closure to the pain of my past. Pop punk is about finding yourself, not caring what the world has to say about you, and healing from your brokenness through music. Remember to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you, because you never know what day will be their last, and to prioritize your mental health. As Jaden said, “We are more connected than you know. This music will change music as we know it. I must let you know it’s all about you… Look at how many people we can bring together with music. I love you. Be ready for the world to change.”
Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
In Loving Memory of Judith Murphy 2/14/2022