Some songs sound like America to me. Not sound American. They sound like the streets, suburbs and towns that make up America. This song sounds like long straight streets lined with tall trees, wide enough to drive down with a car parked either side.
“We sit on front porches and swing life away, we get by just fine here on minimum wage”
Is quite a beautiful sentiment if you think about it. It’s an achievable goal, a tangible happiness that resonates stronger than any ‘I’m the biggest, the best, gonna be a millionaire’ rock rap superstar bull shit.
Swing Life Away sounds to me like a song from a working class rock band about their wider community. A song that doesn’t sneer at all that is wrong, doesn’t see boggle eyed loons behind curtains and doesn’t strive to get away or tear anything down.
It’s played for sympathy with all its talk of ‘Let’s compare scars, I’ll tell you who’s is worst’ and ‘I’ve got some friends, some that I hardly know’
There’s a kernel of ambition in the dialogue
“Let’s pack our bags and settle down where palm trees grow”
but it’s soon swallowed with
“We chase these days down with talks of places we’ll never go”
before the homespun comfort of the chorus returns.
Ultimately punk rockers in bedsits and basements may find a modicum of comfort in Swing Life Away after all the angst and yearning in the rest of their record collection. This song makes the most revolutionary of hearts want a cup of coco and a phone call home.
Punks not dead, it’s calling it’s Mum.