110. Song No. 1,520: “C’Mon,” Guster
Ganging Up on the Sun, 2006
Ganging Up on The Sun, the fifth studio album from one of the most important bands of my college experience, came out about a month after I graduated and literally days after I started my first job, got my first car and moved out for good, so it should feel like the beginning of an adventure.
And the fact that it did feel so auspicious and inspiring and like the beginning of the great unknown catapulted it to the forefront of my personal soundtrack as my next chapter became my present and I put half my paycheck into filling my car twice a week because hell yeah a daily 88-mile round trip of a commute was worth it to get paid an annual salary handily eclipsed by my yearly tuition. All that really mattered was that exactly one month after my commencement ceremony certified me as a bona-fide college grad and for-reals adult, I stepped into a newspaper office as a section editor for the very first time.
It took me a long time to get over putting college in the past, largely because it was the first place I felt like I belonged in every possible way. I knew damn well I was being reckless with my heart by letting myself fall that in love with a place I was always meant to lay very, very temporary ownership to, but I did it anyway and have no regrets in that regard. The downside is that some part of me, I think, will always be bitterly petulant about leaving a world I loved and felt like I had a future in but couldn’t afford to stay there any longer than just long enough. And not dragging my whole heart along with the rest of me that didn’t want to leave academia but followed reality’s marching orders anyway maybe wasn’t the best idea but, hey, I got an apparently perpetually youthful spirit out of it, and I’ll take anything that keeps my sense of wonder intact.
Some of those manifestations of still not totally acting my age are on full, celebratory display in “C’Mon” and, just as I did when I was living a mile from the campus I had covered end to end in countless 2 a.m. walks and far less sober peregrinations and working at the newspaper that graciously published the college one that made me realize life is better with newsprint on your fingertips, I see so much of myself reflected in its lyrics: unnatural hair color, the instinct to run, coming full circle to figure the unresolved shit out.
There are songs that sound like the freedom of getting in the car, picking a direction, and just going. It’s a compulsion I’ve fought often and given into when I can (and I freely recognize that still giving into capricious whims well into your 30s is a luxury of the childfree, for sure). And I’m tired of feeling obligated to feel bad about exhibiting thoroughly un-adult impulsiveness when I do, because spontaneity is more important than most people give it credit for. It keeps you flexible and adaptable, it’s a reason to say “Yes!” and, most of all, it keeps you young in the ways that keep the world fresh and its beauty close. There are a lot of reasons why I love “C’Mon,” but the way it sounds like an invitation to the kind of needful irresponsibility that shakes you loose from the shackles of routine as a reminder to indulge in what really matters is the one that’s most important.