9. “Polaris,” Jimmy Eat World

I’m gonna go a little meta here: This song reminds me of wondering what this song was going to remind me of.

The album this song was on came out around the time we got married and moved into our first house. In fact, it was released exactly nine days after we were married, so it was probably the first album I purchased as a married dude.

I remember walking around the new neighbourhood with this piped into my ears, thinking, “I wonder if this album is going to remind me of anything in a few years.” It was actually more of a concern than a wonder.

Now that I was an “adult” with a wife, a house and a job, I was afraid I was going to grow out of music. After all, it seemed like that’s what adults did. I don’t recall knowing any adults when I was growing up that were really passionate about music. My parents? I love them to death, but they’re not big music people. There was really nothing in their record collection that ever excited me. I’m not judging it, it’s just that Johnny Mathis and Barbra Streisand were never my bag. I could get into a couple Neil Diamond songs, but that’s about it.

I often wondered, as I hit my 20s, if that was going to happen to me, too, if someday I was going to stop connecting with music that had a little more vitality, with new music. The worry struck again as I hit my late-20s and realized I was starting to be older than most of the other people at concerts. Was it wrong for me to be there? Was I out of place? The good news was, I certainly wasn’t feeling that passion slip away. At least not yet.

It occurs to me now that this album is called Futures. That’s a little spooky. Me worrying about my future as a music lover and all.

Thank Apollo (that would be the Greek god of music – ha), almost 10 years later, I can say that my future was bright. Music still means everything to me that it ever did. I’m still getting excited about new bands. And I don’t really care if most of the people at concerts are younger than me. As long as I get a charge out of them, I’m going. And I still get a charge.

But just thinking about that fear I had, about growing out of music, man just the concept of that chokes me up a little. (“Okay, we get it, you’re passionate about music. You don’t have to cry about it.”)

“Polaris,” that’s the North Star. You use it to orient yourself, to find your way when you’re unsure. And that’s how I felt back then. Unsure. But, in retrospect, this song, this album helped me find my way.

 

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