Ok, so I switched this one around.
Back in 1983, Men At Work were hot off their string of extremely catchy and fun hits (“Who Can It Be Now?”, “Down Under”, & “Be Good Johnny”) and were hard at work trying to get a second album out to capitalize on their success. The first single from Cargo was this very adult departure called “Overkill” which I hated. Where was the fun? Where was the adventure? Where was the goofiness? I wanted my Men At Work to be a bunch of musical Stooges, damn it. I went ahead and bought the cassette because I loved “It’s A Mistake” despite that it was another serious song, but it was hook-laden. I enjoyed it.
Then something happened. I was on my own for the first time. I had to grown up. Adult themes crept into my life without regard to my not wanting them to take up residence in my life. I threw in Cargo one day because it had been a while since the last listen. “Overkill” is the second track. I used to skip over it, but this time something caught my ear. The worry and strife of just living were in the lyrics and the tone of the music. Here was a song that completely described the fear of being alive, of having to make decisions, and of being an adult. A song that tells of finding anything beautiful and distracting — even for the briefest of moments. (“At least there’s pretty lights/And thought there’s little variation/It nullifies the night/From overkill.”) A song that has since become one of my favorite of all time.
Same thing occurred with this Steely Dan song. Didn’t love it until I was older. The reason? It’s about getting older.