“The Boy with the Perpetual Nervousness” (The Feelies)

Every time you look to an adjacent dwelling, there’s the potential of seeing another “you.” This could be unsettling or, more optimistically, revelatory in certain ways. Building through a one-minute intro, the trax follows a domiciled narrator, water dripping in the background, the kick drum like a heartbeat, and the first of a repeated, single-note guitar figure (in half-time as compared to the ending’s double time). Through a ploddingly fast beat, we learn that the “boy next door” (who is also the singer) is ushering in a new form of averageness: “he doesn’t plan to work too hard” and, unlike “boys” from the gauzy past, he won’t “make [his] parents proud.” Indeed, “this one beats ‘em all.” What are the “bigger” and “better things” that the both the neighbor and singer are into? A general hostility to parenting and a discrete sense of identity that romanticizes teen angst as lovable irresponsibility. Such irresponsibility—to one’s self and to those enclosures that promote it—as first principle in a gesture toward promising, shared identity.


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