Still quarantining with my parents and running out of pandemic-safe activities, my dad decided to dig out some old movies of Christmas in the 90’s for us last week. Watching as my four-year-old self played with new Sesame Street stickers and doll-house furniture was a somewhat surreal experience. Although I am technically the same person, in the same room, of the same house, with my same two parents, amongst all of this sameness was an overwhelming sense of change and difference. This wash of dark nostalgia and remembrance of the past is what Brooklyn Doran’s “This Town Won’t Miss You” sums up so well.
“I park across the street from / The place we grew up in / Where new people live / I look in the window / To see if it’s changed some / I’m sorry I did”
This first verse is put so simply but really hits the proverbial nail on the head. It’s that feeling of coming back to a place that you once knew every corner and space of, only to find that both it and you have changed in ways that pull at your memories and leaves a dull discomfort behind. It’s both achingly familiar and foreign. The overall air of simplicity to the lyrics is uncomplicated and leaves a stripped-down honesty that aids in driving the message home. Like a shrug of melancholic resignation, it’s an acceptance of the inevitable changes we must face with time.
“And this town will chase you / Like you’re a traitor / You keep on running / But you keep coming back”
With this next verse, there is a shift from fond remembrance of the past to a need to get away. It’s that uneasy feeling about the past being inescapable; no matter how fast or far we run its shadowy ties are pulled behind us. Coming back to the places where we started often sparks this feeling and is a catalyst for remembering things we aren’t so sure we’re ready for. Doran’s crystalline-yet-hint-of-rasp vocals come to a pique here as they brush against the gentle percussion and leave the lyrics to take centerstage. Every word is drawn out and lingering, giving it the feeling of dark 3am thoughts that emerge suddenly and are mulled over, only to drift away moments later.
“And all of the bodies are buried inside of my head / All my old friends are working just for the rent / And the bars we blacked out in / Are closing down sooner or later”
With this final chorus, the cycle from deep nostalgia when first confronted with your past to the tumultuous panic that it is inescapable culminates in a sort of uneasy acceptance. It’s the realization that the past and the present must eventually be mixed, and although it is often unpleasant and unsettling, it is ultimately unavoidable. Effortlessly combining the turmoil of emotions and thoughts that are churned up by collisions with our past, “This Town Won’t Miss You” is lyrically poignant journey that has the potential to reach and resonate with a wide variety of listeners.