Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Disappointment of Adulthood or Songs that Capture a Mood: “The Great Depression”

More than any other artist today, Dave Hause has captured the mood of the nation, or at least the mood of aging Gen Xer’s like me, on his latest record Devour.  As I stated in my review, the record deals with issues of “frustration, disappointment, and disillusionment with the American Dream.”  One song on the record that really hits home (though honestly all of them do) is “The Great Depression,” because it feels like Hause is writing about my life. 


The lyrics to the song are poignant and personal and speak right to the heart of those who grew up in the late 1970s and 1980s. 

We were the Reagan kids
Our heroes didn't work like our daddies did
They dazzled us with TV through sleepy lids
We followed hulking maniacs to prozac nation
"You can be anything, just get your education"

We were good Christian kids
Went to church on Sunday mornings like mama did
Teenage love made us feel guilty and so we hid
Under those overpasses on summer nights
We'd tear each other's clothes off
And get into fights

Then we roared right through our twenties
Never bargained for a crash
Watched our hollow dreams get buried
Under heaps of plastic trash
Broken promises to children leave indelible impressions
Welcome to the great depression

We were our father's sons
Playing war on weekend days with our plastic guns
Catching up with who we were through the reruns
"Eat your vitamins and say your prayers
You'll become doctors, lawyers and millionaires"
We were misguided girls
Tried to fuck our way through such a distorted world
Confusing love with sex and plastic with pearls
"Get what you can for yourself, leave the rest behind"
It's freedom forever 'til your card gets declined

And we roared right through our twenties
Never bargained for a crash
Watching hollow dreams get buried
Under heaps of plastic trash
Broken promises to children leave indelible impressions
Welcome to the great depression

Did he die for your sins?
Did he leave us for dead?
If you wanted us safe why would you fuck with our heads?
The factory's gone, the loans are foreclosed
But there's some places left that remind me of home
Just give me one place left that reminds me of home

The lifeboat is looking pretty full
If you find some room reach out and give me a pull
The way we learned to live is fading fast
I guess we never bargained for a crash

Adulthood has been a challenge for me, more so than I realized until recently.  You think you have all of the time in the world to get things done and really get going as a grownup but the reality is, you don’t.  You blink and your kids are teenagers and you’re almost 40 and you look back on it all and have nothing to show for it.  Personal disappointment is one thing to deal with, but how do you, as a parent, convey to your kids their potential to be successful and have great lives, when you yourself have failed at yours?  That is the question that haunts me. 

What Hause has been able to capture in “The Great Depression” is that feeling of being let down by the expectations that we were given.  We were told we could do anything, be anything, and yet for many that just never came to pass.  Any individual’s success or failure in life depends on a multitude of factors, most importantly the individual him/herself, but the picture that we were painted as kids just doesn’t at all match or represent reality and that is what this song so beautifully expresses.  

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