You've likely heard the song "boys of summer" in some version or another. I remember the original coming out in the 80s. I liked the beat of the song and loved the line "Your brown skin shining in the sun.You got your hair combed back and your sunglasses on, baby.". I couldn't avoid the lucid visuals the song provided. Yet despite all of that I didn't like it. It left me with a bad feeling. It left me in the exact state the song sung about, a feeling of loss and longing. Even as a kid I could feel it despite not understanding it. Back then all I knew was i didn't like the feeling it gave me, so I simply never bothered to listen to it.
Seems though everything comes back around again in some form or other. The Atari's covered the song with an updated punk feel that really hit me. All of the visuals still there, but this time with a sound much closer to what I grew up with. The song was no longer saying goodbye to the 70's, this was a goodbye to the 80's. My youth. Now more than ever the song hit a chord. Still it wasn't until 12 years after that release that I would give the song a chance. Too closed off to the feelings it creates. Until finally driving on a super hot summer day with the windows rolled down on the freeway, the song comes up on my playlist. I don't even recall getting the song, let alone adding it to a playlist. Still there is was. This time though I couldn't stop listening to it. For the first time I started to understand and really feel what it provoked inside me.
Its the feeling of summer ending. The beautiful times being over, the vacations gone, sunny warm blue skies leave and take with them all of the fun and freedom summer brings. As a kid summer meant freedom for me. Freedom not just from school but from my house, my family. I could escape outside. I could disappear on my bike or by foot for hours or all day. I could play endlessly it seemed. Exploring a summer world with the imaginations of my mind. Summer ending was always like a death to me. A knee to the gut back to reality, even as a kid. That feeling is still there. I still feel it, as much or more than I did as a kid. I don't really have that "past" to look back on like in the song. I happily leave my past in the past. Instead for me it feels like potential lost, like a brilliant summer never had, never finished. The sky never looks as blue in the winter. I was a boy of summer and I didn't want to be gone. From the first time I understood there were places where it was summer all year round I knew I was meant to be there. It wasn't just the physical stereotype of blonde hair, blue eyes, tanned skin, and a love of the water. Nor was it some sort of destiny, I don't even believe in such things. Yet still I have this deep connection to summer. Just lying on the grass or the beach and starring at the brilliant deep blue of the sky as the warm sun falls on my face. The feeling you get when you just "know" something. There is no reasoning its just inherent to who you are.
So for me this song is a longing for a summer I've never had. Its a summer I've glimpsed but always ends. I suppose everything ends but I'm never ready to let go of summer and everything it brings. I dream of Hawaii, or some tropical location, where summer never ends. My tan never fades and the sky is always blue. Where the water is inviting and the breeze is heavenly. Where I'm free with hair slicked back, sunglasses on and living in the sun.