Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

An early Walkmen song gets anti-nostalgic

In Hear ThisA.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing. This week, we’re asking our writers to talk about a song that always reminds them of their own arrested development.

I’ve never pined much for my younger days: College wasn’t a non-stop drinking party for me or anything, but I feel happily smarter now than I did then. So I think I can relate to “We’ve Been Had” from the first Walkmen record, Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone. It seems like a song that doesn’t embrace the past at all, but rather looks back on it with some regret—the ol’ “if I only knew then what I know now.” The key lyric basically makes fun of younger Hamilton Leithauser (or whoever this song is about): “See me age 19 with some dumb haircut from 1960 / moving to New York City.” In a way it celebrates the silliness of youth and the advantages of getting older. (Pretty directly, too: “Sometimes I’m just happy I’m older,” he sings.) It’s also got this incredibly catchy little piano line that sounds like it could’ve been written in 1930 or 2000. There’s then, there’s now, and they’re all pretty great in their own way.


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