Perfect Song Thursday: Nada Surf – “Happy Kid”

If one were to believe the teachings of Michael Leyton, that all art is simply a conveyance of outward movement (or “emotions” for those out of the loop), then where would music stand?  My opinion on the matter is that, like art, the best music has the power to move a person without trying.  This is dependent on location, time, previous emotion, and any other factor one can think of as well, but I feel a truly great song can break through no matter what the circumstance…

I love Nada Surf.  Period.  Something about this group just strikes a chord with me, and I find that putting them on in the background just makes me a happier person (segue).  “Happy Kid” is one of my favorite songs by the band.  It has a unique melody, and overall makes me feel younger than I already am.  It’s a sad progression with sad lyrics, but ultimately comes off as unknowing and hopeful.  It embodies being a teenager and the lacking feel of direction in the song seems to have been on purpose.  There’s that awkward but beautiful bridge, and the song ends on a strong melancholy note.

The lyrics (below) are slightly nonsensical, but the metaphors here and there sound and feel perfect.  “Happy Kid” is from 2002’s Let Go, which found the band move toward the indie rock they were born to make.  Everything after this album is also great, especially Lucky, which came out in 2008.  Please listen to this song, because it is very much so perfect.

Nada Surf – Happy Kid

Go buy an album or six from Nada’s myspaces.

i’m just a happy kid
stuck with the heart of a sad punk
drowning in my id
always searching like it’s on junk
no matter who i hang out with
i can hear the clack clunk
of the chains that pull the cars up
the roller coaster mountain top so high
when it comes down it shoots back up
straight back to the sky
i gotta laugh and then i’m asleep
and then i walk around and wanna cry
out at night to do the strand
the little candles make the bottles glow
got ink all over my right hand
getting crushes with no chance to grow
it’s like i’ll never ever land
there’s always too much sun
or too much snow
i get slow days and no days
i get rusty and it’s hard
but i get notions that oceans
are coming to my call
you can learn to get along
i’m just a happy kid
stuck with the heart of an old punk
drowning in my id
always hungry like it’s on junk
i’m just a happy kid

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