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My son said to me, “Here’s a song that me and my friend decided was perfect for Dads.” They were right, but hey, they must have liked it too or else why were they listening in the first place?

It sounds like Elliott Smith, or the Milk Carton Kids, hushed vocals, acoustic guitar. (My son said Sufjan Stevens.) The first verse describes a high school meeting involving drugs and lying about drugs and kindness and instant connection. “Nothing’s going to change it now,” the singer says, and we’ve all felt that sense of arrival, that anti-scavenger hunt feeling of finally finding what you didn’t even know you were looking for.

Christian describes the relationship like this:

Morrissey apologists
Amateur psychologists
Serial monogamists
We went to different colleges

Which is just about perfect and probably the Dad-bait my son was referring to: the details, the unexpected off-rhyme. They are moving in different directions, but she tells him they will always be together in a way, branches on the same tree. The singer takes some comfort in that: “Nothing’s going to change it now,” he repeats, no one can take away what they shared.

There’s a missed chance at a last hurrah and then…the woman dies. Car accident. Again, the matter of fact details: “You were probably reaching for a cigarette.” You don’t expect death in pop songs, and I have to say this one caught me off guard. I winced at the line, “I hope it was an instant death.”

The singer allows himself a glimpse of an alternate happier future where they get back together, share a life getting fat in the countryside. “It’s crazy how things shake out sometimes,” he says, pulling himself back to reality, and then repeats: “Nothing’s going to change it now.” This time meaning, tragically, what they have has been frozen by death, will never get a chance to grow or change.

Which isn’t true. Our relationships with the dead change all the time. But Christian is young, he’ll find that out. In the meantime, heartbreaking song. Enjoy, Dads everywhere!

 

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