I’ve loved Jethro Tull since I was a teenager. I think when I first got into them, it was somewhat fueled by my adolescent need to exert myself as an individual. Not only did I listen to classic rock, which most of my peers weren’t listening to at the time, my favorite classic rock band wasn’t one of those super mainstream ones like The Beatles or The Rolling Stones. No, I was different. My favorite band featured a guy playing a flute.
Still, in spite of my potentially juvenile motives, I feel that I chose wisely. Jethro Tull is a great band. The music is good, I happen to love Ian Anderson’s voice, and they give a phenomenal concert (I’ve seen them twice). But for me, where they’ve always excelled is in the lyrics. Even now, in my 40s, I can so relate to nearly everything they say. (Plus, along the way, I’ve learned a lot of great Britishisms, such as “dog end” for “cigarette butt.”)
This song has always been one of my favorites. I love the sense of hope and promise that the music brings, while the lyrics belie how uneasy and anxious the singer feels. It’s exactly how I’ve felt for most of my life. Each day has so much potential, but on the inside I’m worrying about pretty much everything and feeling like I don’t connect to the world the way I’m supposed to.
“Well, do you ever get the feeling that the story’s too damn real and in the present tense?” The song asks. Why yes, yes, I do.
“Or that everybody’s and the stage and it seems like you’re the only person sitting in the audience?” Oh my god, YES. I feel that way all the time!
So maybe, even after all these years, there’s still a little teenaged angst inside of me, and that’s okay. It doesn’t change the fact that, at the end of my life, Jethro Tull will still be one of my top 10 favorite bands.