For the final week, ex-KDHX DJ Chris Ward examines a song from his quarantine-based playlist dealing with isolation, loneliness, hope and germs. This song and more can be found on the Spotify playlist, “Pande-mix: an end of the world playlist.”: https://spoti.fi/2WZGTJZ
“Tomorrow May Never Come” — David & the Same Mistakes — Self Titled (2020)
“Someday soon, my love, you’ll be in my arms again”
We’re not going to get our summer jam. Not this year.
Even as monoculture disintegrates faster than a nuanced Facebook argument, riding that shared joywave of a certified summer banger before crashing into the overplayed rocks was something I looked forward to. Year after year, the Summer Jam takes my mind back to a place John Prine called “the Valley of the Unconcerned.”
But in 2020, there will be no Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” No “Hey Ya!” No one’s taking their animal — any animal — to the “Old Town Road.”
Only twice have I gotten close to that warm Summer Jam Feeling in the middle of the worst year in a string of worst years. The first time was watching a documentary about “Who Let the Dogs Out,” a thing that actually exists to stream, is very good, and will make you happy. The second time was hearing my friend David Meyer’s new album.
Now, I hesitate to say “my friend Dave” because who wants to check out “my friend’s band”? The answer is “no one.” No one wants to hear anyone’s music, even fans of music. Even other musicians. Even music critics and DJs. No one wants to hear anyone’s music. I don’t make the rules, nor do I understand them.
To his credit, I don’t think David really cares if you hear it either. Like the best music, he just sort of made it for himself. But I just happened to be at his house and spot a box of new CDs (an oxymoron, yes) on his kitchen table. “Wait…did you make an album? You … play music?” I said. “Oh yeah…you want one? I gotta get rid of them,” he replied, offhand. And so, accidentally, David & the Same Mistakes (also on Spotify) has become my Summer Jam.
Of the six short songs (four of them clocking in at exactly 3:19, which he swears isn’t a conspiracy), “Tomorrow May Never Come” fits best into this particular Pandemic Mix. In a way, it captures our collective “ha ha we’re gonna die” vibe. It’s Slim Pickens riding The Bomb, but with harmonica. It’s got a breezy, whistle-while-you-quarantine, New Orleans funeral-by-way-of-the Beatles sound. It’s bouncy, like the Muppets are gonna pop up any second during the hand clap portion. It’s wistful that someday we’ll be in each other’s arms again, knowing it will be later than sooner, if ever at all. It has a charmingly outdated phrase that no one says anymore: “You were right, I was wrong.”
Also featuring Paul Niehaus IV and journeyman local musician (and former RFT
contributor) Bob McMahon on drums (who, in full disclosure, has once written about my old band because this is, after all, St. Louis), the entire EP is brisk, summery, bittersweet, and...well, just nice. We could all use a little “just nice.”
The penultimate track, a wonderful Yacht Rock slow jam contender released before COVID, cements my most recent thoughts: “I’m not ready to die just yet, but I wouldn’t call this living.” But “Tomorrow May Never Come,” the perfect closer and the “acceptance” part of the previous track’s grief cycle, throws up its hands and says “Make love, drink up. While we are young.”
In other words, just make your own summer jams this year, and don’t care about who hears them. Act like Mama Cass, and make your own kind of music. Dance like no one’s watching, baby. And write a music column during a pandemic like no one’s reading.
And, with that said, this column has been a pleasure: Wear a mask you selfish idiot, be safe, enjoy the playlist, never vote for a Republican again, and let’s ride this rocket into the heart of the fucking sun.
This song and many more can be found on Chris Ward’s Pande-Mix playlist on Spotify.