Monday, September 02, 2013

Songs that Capture a Mood: “Should’ve California”

From Two Cow Garage’s 2007 album III, “Should’ve California” is a song that deals with regret.  The lyrics talk about missed opportunities and decisions left undecided leading to a place of unrealized potential. 

I should've gone to college
and made a lot of money
and given you everything
that your heart desired
I should've been blue collar
like my father.
Bustin' knuckles just to
keep the kids in dimes
I should've been smarter.
I should've been stronger.
I should've been you.
I think I should've moved west
like my brother
Southern Californiacould've been good to me
I shouldn't be wasting
all of my time
in these basement bars
with this rock and roll band
I should've been smarter
I should've been stronger
I should've been you
Now I ain't no one's
blue eyed son.
Just a handful of
trouble on the run
I should've gone to college
I should've CaliforniaOf all the things I should've done
that I did not do
I should've been smarter
I should've been stronger
I should've been you
As I get older and the farther away I find myself from my youth, songs like this really speak to me.  Regret is something that can eat away at you, especially when your own failures stare at you in the mirror every day.  It’s the opening stanza of this song that gets to me.  As an adult, I am pretty much a failure.  For over 13 years I have tried to provide for my family and yet we still find ourselves struggling to get by and stay afloat and the only person to blame for this lack of success is me.  “I should've gone to college, and made a lot of money, and given you everything, that your heart desired;” that is what goes through my head every time my kids talk about something that they’d really like to have or do because I know that I’ll probably never be able to give it to them.  Sure I love my kids to death but there is a guilt that hangs over me that I can’t give them everything that their hearts desire.  One day in the car this song was playing and at the end of the song when Micah Schnabel sang “I should've gone to college,” my daughter replied “no kidding.”  This song expresses that regret so poignantly that it makes me feel like I’m not alone, which is a feat considering how isolated I feel on a daily basis.

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