Thursday, September 28, 2006

Desperation by Steppenwolf

When I was in high school I kept to myself a lot, I had friends that I would spend time with, but by and large I kept to myself and got lost in my own head quite frequently. I would listen to music almost incessantly. To the end where many of the songs I grew to know and love became my “friends.”

While my classmates and peers were listening to groups like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Stone Temple Pilots I found myself listening to Chicago, the Sons of Champlin, the Quicksilver Messenger Service, Steppenwolf, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Tower of Power, Toto, Boston, REO Speedwagon, and a bevy of other groups that given my age, I was born a bit too late to have been enjoying. I mean even my friends who were listening to classic rock, weren’t listening to a lot of the more obscure material that I had stumbled upon.

One of the songs that became one of my closest “friends” in high school was Steppenwolf’s Desperation, which I found I could relate to on a different level than many other songs that I also drew enjoyment from. I found solace in the lyrics:

When raindrops fall and you feel low
Do you ever think its useless
Do you feel like letting go
Do you ever sit and do you wonder
Will the world ever change

And just how long will it take to have it all rearranged
Tell me why these things are still the same
Tell me why no one can seem to learn from mistakes

Take my hand if you don’t know where you’re goin’
I’ll understand I’ve lost the way myself
Don’t take that old road it leads to nowhere
We must return before the clock strikes twelve

It’s so easy to do nothing
When you’re busy night and day
Take a step in one direction
And then take a step the other way
So don’t quit tryin’ when you stumble
Don’t give up should you fall
Keep on searchin’ for the pathway that leads you through the wall
Don’t look back or you’ll be left behind
Don’t look back or you will never find peace of mind

Take my hand if you don’t know where you’re goin’
I’ll understand I’ve lost the way myself
Don’t take that old road it leads to nowhere
We must return before the clock strikes twelve


Adolescence is never really easy, it often wasn’t fun and was more often than not generally overwhelming and confusing. I think the solace I found in those lyrics came from a commonality of experience. In John Kay’s emotive and plaintive vocals I heard someone who understood my confusion and the fact that at times I felt overwhelmed and, at times, perhaps even a little depressed. I heard that I wasn’t alone in that, that maybe even though I felt lost there were others out there who felt just as lost as I did… It made me feel as though I wasn’t alone in my confusion.

4 comments:

Layla said...

I totally resonate with what you said here. I lied on my bed and listened to music for hours at that age.

"In John Kay’s emotive and plaintive vocals I heard someone who understood my confusion and the fact that at times I felt overwhelmed and, at times, perhaps even a little depressed."

For me, it was The Doors, Cat Stevens, Emmerson, Lake and Palmer, and Bread...the list could go on...

Excellent post my friend!

dantallion said...

I was a lot like that as a teenager as well - I had really diverse taste in music even then, but I found myself getting immersed in prog rock that had been released 15 years earlier - Yes, Genesis, Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, ELP, Gentle Giant and so forth. My friends didn't get it at all. But I was happy to spend hours getting lost in those extended pieces of music played with a virtuosity never seen before in pop/rock. To this day, Close to the Edge still gives me goosebumps.

Snooze said...

I related to the Boomtown Rats and listened to Bob Geldof over and over. It's amazing what an impact music has.

Janet said...

I always felt like I was born too late, too. That's why it's so great when things come back for nostalgia purposes!:)