At 38, a pro athlete is an ‘elder statesman,’ and a politician is a ‘young upstart.’
At 38, songs you grew up with regularly appear on “throwback” playlists.
38 years old is when you realize that the next wedding you attend will probably either be a second marriage, or the wedding of someone a generation below you.
38 years old is contentment.
It’s feeling experienced and new at this all at once.
It’s a song by The Tragically Hip.
It’s the age at which Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon.
It’s the age Homer Simpson is supposed to be. (Depending on which nerdy corner of the internet you believe.)
It’s the point at which (in my country at least) you are older than approximately half the population, and younger than approximately half the population.
And, most relevantly, it’s the age cryptically mentioned in the opening moments of this song.
What makes this a beautiful song:
1. The gruff voice that mumbles explicitly about being 38 is a sample taken from Apocalypse Now, a movie released 38 years ago this summer. The harsh tone is completely at odds with the song’s main sample. Speaking of which:
2. The main sample. It’s the opening few seconds of Three Dog Night’s version of a track from the 60s free-love Broadway hit Hair. Buttery bass line, sparkly piano chords, light tremolo guitar…I can imagine Kid Loco’s eyes lighting up when he heard it. It’s a sample that begs to have a song written around it.
3. The only time it deviates from that sample is about halfway through, when another sampled voice talks about being keenly aware of how short life is.
Recommended listening activity:
Sitting halfway up (down?) your favourite staircase.