Song of the Day #2,578: ‘Teenagers, Kick Our Butts’ – Dar Williams

endofsummerIf somebody asked me to recommend a musical artist they’d never heard of, my first answer would be Tift Merritt. She’s the best.

This assumes, by the way, that people have heard of Ben Folds and Belle & Sebastian.

My second answer might be Josh Rouse or Ron Sexsmith. Or it could well be Dar Williams, the writer and singer of today’s random iTunes selection. She’d be in the top five, no question.

Williams is a great songwriter in that she crafts memorable melodies and strings words together well, but I’m even more impressed by the topics about which she writes.

Her songs are often more like short stories that chronicle the quiet majesty of everyday life — a lonely woman who smiles watching children walk home from the bus stop, a little girl afraid to face the mean girls at school, an awkward family dinner argument over religion. Her songs almost always make you think and feel.

Today’s track could serve as a graduation speech to an entire generation.

When I grew up, well it felt great
I watched how others took their fate
Some felt afraid and undefended, so they got mean
And they pretended what they knew made them belong more than you.
I’m sure you know there’s lots to learn
But that’s not your fault, that’s just your turn, yeah, yeah

Teenagers, kick our butts, tell us what the future will bring
Teenagers look at us, we have not solved everything

We drink and smoke to numb our pain
We read junk novels on the plane
We use authority for show so we can be a little smarter
We still can grow, and many do
It’s when we stop we can’t reach you
We feel the loss, you feel the blame
We’re scared to lose, don’t be the same, hey hey

Teenagers, kick our butts, tell us what the future will bring
Teenagers, look at us, we have not solved everything

The hometown brought its hero in
To speak at the high school gym
He took a breath, he took a chance
He strode up in his leather pants
And said, “Gee, thanks… but
I’m here today because I fought for what I felt and what I thought
They put me down they were just wrong
And now it’s they who don’t belong, oh, oh

Teenagers, kick our butts, tell us what the future will bring
Teenagers look at us, we have not solved everything

And when the media tries to act your age
Don’t be seduced, they’re full of rage
Find your voice, do what it takes
Make sure you make lots of mistakes
And find the future that redeems
Give us hell, give us dreams
And grow and grow and grow

And someday when some teenagers come to kick your butts
Well then like I do try to
Love
Kick our butts
Love
Kick our butts
Oh I love
Kick our butts

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One thought on “Song of the Day #2,578: ‘Teenagers, Kick Our Butts’ – Dar Williams

  1. Dana says:

    When I saw the title, I thought the sentiment was more declarative than a challenge. Growing up, I heard many claim that my generation was lesser than the preceding great and baby boomer generations, and now I hear those my age claim that my children’s generation is less ambitious, less motivated, etc. I don’t buy it. I’m optimistic that my teenagers will kick our butts and their kids will kick theirs.

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