Artist: Dar Williams
Album: The End of Summer, 1997
Track 1

The second or third week of my college experience Dar Williams played a free concert in Commons Quad. I didn't plan on going, and, really, I didn't actually go. But I hung out with some friends there for a few minutes while I waited for my study group. While I was waiting she played this song. I was entranced. As soon as I got back I found the song and have been listening to it ever since. The whole time I heard it I was thinking of the fantastic punk cover this could spawn. If no one else does it, I will.

The concert was simple enough. Dar stood on a small raised platform with her guitar and sang. No bells, no whistles, not even a back-up band which accompanies her on The End of Summer. It was just Dar, her guitar, and the sound system. This really wasn't a problem - she is a folk singer, and, as such, her guitar was enough. Given the situation she palyed in - outdoors, alone on stage, and in a place that was never intended for concerts, she commanded attention. In front of her sat maybe 500 people, filling the quad, in the most casual concert I've ever been to.

Dar Williams said during the concert that this song is about being trapped in suburbian America and hearing something on the radio and thinking that somehow you weren't meant to hear it, that it was part of some secret organization. And, in hearing that, it changed you. Like, for example, listening to Pink Floyd for the first time. That's the best I can remember it.

The song itself is a medium/fast tempo. When I saw her, she played it alone, but on the album she is backed up by a band, mostly percussion. The beginning almost sounds like a sea shanty or something off of Billy Joel's Storm Front. As I stated before, this song would lend itself to punk well, if anything because of the content of the song. It's very critical of suburban life, discusses awakening from the suburbs, mocks our TV world and points out the futility of radio personalities and politicians.

The song:

Perhaps I am a miscreation
No one knows the truth, there is no future here
And you're the DJ speaks to my insomnia
And laughs at all I have to fear
Laughs at all I have to fear
You always play the madmen poets
Vinyl vision grungy bands
You never know who's still awake
You never know who understands and

Are you out there, can you hear this?
Jimmy Olson, Johnny Memphis,
I was out here listening all the time
And though the static walls surround me
You were out there and you found me
I was out here listening all the time

Last night we drank in parking lots
And why do we drink? I guess we do it 'cause
And when I turned your station on
You sounded more familiar than that party was
You more familiar than that party
It's the first time I stayed up all night
It's getting light, I hear the birds
I'm driving home on empty streets
I think I put my shirt on backwards

Are you out there, can you hear this
Jimmy Olson, Johnny Memphis
I was out here listening all the time
And though the static walls surround me
You were out there and you found me
I was out here listening all the time

And what's the future, who will choose it?
Politics of love and music
Underdogs who turn the tables
Indie versus major labels
There's so much to see through
Like our parents do more drugs than we do
Oh...

Corporate parents, corporate towns
I know every TV set that has them lit
They preach that I should save the world
They pray that I won't do a better job of it
Pray that I won't do a better job
So tonight I turned your station on just so I'd be understood
Instead another voice said I was just too late
And just no good...

Calling Olson, calling Memphis
I am calling, can you hear this?
I was out here listening all the time
And I will write this down
and then I will not be alone again, yeah
I was out here listening
Oh yeah, I was out here listening
Oh yeah, I am out here listening all the time


Sources:
Dar Williams Concert
http://www.limitless.org/~del/dar/endofthesummer/areyououtthere.html
http://www.darwilliams.net

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