Nostalgia is one hell of a drug.
I’ve really only just started my adult life, and already, pretty much any wistful song about childhood is enough to get me staring out into the middle distance with misty eyes, thinking about Lego castles, fighting my brothers with stick swords, and coming up with ways to play backyard football with two people. Good times, man. Good times.
And like I said, I’m only 25. Practically a baby still. I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like when I’m super old and trying to come to terms with my failed body, mind, and childhood dreams.
Yikes. Told you. One helluva drug.
This powerful sense of nostalgia is one of the reasons “Sober Up” by AJR (and featuring Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo) is so awesome. It’s not a song that goes into great detail about the long lost childhood (like Ed Sheeran’s “Castle on the Hill,” or Blake Shelton’s “I Lived It”), instead focusing on the feeling of being a young adult and struggling to reconcile your current life with the one you lived as an innocent, naïve second-grader. The one you’ll never get back. That sense of emptiness is real, and heavy, and I swear I’m not usually this depressing, or even slightly dissatisfied with my current life, but damn, being a kid was pretty great.
Sorry, I’ll try to stop. Point made. It’s a relatable song, and it delivers beautifully on the message and emotion it’s trying to get across.
The line “All the big kids, they got drunk” is particularly well constructed, as it captures the transition from innocence to the largely harmless debauchery that often accompanies young adulthood and our first forays with freedom (#college #don’tworrymom,Idon’tevenknowwhatalcoholis). Referring to the drinkers as “big kids” expresses that the singer is young and looking out at the world he’s about to step into. It blends the two sides of that adulthood transition (innocence/mild debauchery) simply, and effectively.
I’m also struck by the composition of this song. Everything about it is catchy, but I’m particularly fond of its closing act, where it meshes several of the song’s earlier motifs together, weaving the up-beat chorus with the slower, mournful refrain from earlier: “My favorite color is you.” Those two sections of the song have very different sounds, but they mesh together like the teeth on the zipper of the snow-pants that I would put on before going out to sled with my siblings on a snow day, running up and down the hill until our legs burned, building jumps, and gosh darn-it, there I go again.
Whatever. You got my point. It’s a well-written song that elicits a strong emotional response.
What more could you want from a song?