Tom Recommends: “The Twenty-Second Century” by Say Hi

Eric Elbogen writes songs that sound like my childhood Nintendo was surreptitiously recording fleeting but formative moments throughout my life and magically turned them into pop songs.

And I love everything about that.

It’s had me listening to his band, Say Hi, for years and puzzling over why more people aren’t in the same sort of active love with his music that I am.

“The Twenty-Second Century” is a deceptively simple song, lyrically. I can see how someone might easily overlook the poetry of a moment as ubiquitous as the one depicted in the lyrics of the opening track from 2005’s Ferocious Mopes. But musically, this song sounds and feels just like playing in the woods behind your house with your best friend at age seven: the endless possibility, the tunnel-vision focus, the boundless ambition of young imagination, the world absolutely ending beyond the scope of right here and now, the immortal magic of it all. If you have ever contemplated the beauty of such time spent now gone (and who amongst us hasn’t), if you have ever welled with tears watching your own child turning the whole banal world into an endlessly fascinating toy, if you have ever puzzled over where play and its unadulterated engagement with existence goes over the years, then this song will sound like it has been sitting right next to you for years waiting for you to Say Hi.

From love to sadness to joy, unrequited infatuations to unending rainy days to persisting belief in magical thinking and things, childhood to adulthood to whatever all that in between space is, Elbogen captured it all and fed it through a multitrack recorder. Don’t stop with “The Twenty-Second Century,” either. There are 10 albums and growing. So blow the dust out of your old game cartridges and reintroduce yourself to the moments you keep forgetting to go back and feel ever since life started getting so full of busy things.

(Song recommendation by Tom Stern)

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