A Golden Age

Welcome to the first installment of “Free Tune Friday”! (Don’t think I’ll stick with that, but it’s the best I could come up with on short notice). To learn more about this project and check out other songs, go HERE. To learn more about this tune, read on…


My little homage–in an indirect way, at least–to the Britpop of my younger days. The tune starts off with a heavy back-beat that runs relentlessly through, nearly to the end, like a violently ticking clock. After years of dabbling on the old Tascam four-track, I was enamored by my new ZOOM “Multi-Trak” Digital Studio with its built-in programmable drum machine and wanted give my new rhythm slave some props. Beats, then bass, then a wall of sound–not terribly original, I suppose, but the only tune I’ve ever used that trick on, so I give myself a pass.

Going from four tracks to a conceivably infinite number was like setting a home-schooler loose in Disneyland with a liter of Jolt. Whee! I have no idea how many layers of guitar I wove together–each with its own sound–but it’s at least four. For good measure, I threw in a track banged out on the old family Casio keyboard from the ’80s that sort of still works. My favorite part comes after the final chorus–a full minute and a half of noise that builds to a lovely little crescendo. Then the drums cut out and the guitars linger before trickling to an end. (You can tell my years of listening to Husker Du paid off here.)

The song’s title speaks to an old archetype that I often come back to. Whether it’s Eden or the opening lines of Ovid’s Metamorphosis–the idea that the past was somehow better, somehow more virtuous, more innocent and pure is a seductive one, rarely true. The lyrics speak to feelings of regret, of feeling tainted by time, of hungering for some idyllic past. But freedom comes in seeing the Golden Age for the fallacy that it is.


A Golden Age

The riddle stays; it hides amid the faces,
Still teasing me to look behind.
It should explain this constant change in new words;
This waiting is no good to me.

The sadness of the October image
Pulls all the red out of the sky.
All growing pains converge from different stages;
Old habits are no good for me.

The would-be king has squandered all his greatness;
His treasures are no good to him.
The reducing years have formed a blurry instant;
You can never be what you were.


Running through the tall grass, hiding in the fields,
Smiling at the old hills golden with the trees,
Looking for the younger self — it was never here.
Finding out set you free.

To download this tune, right-click here and select “Save Link As.” For best results, apply headphones. Thanks for listening! Come back next week for another tune…

(Written, performed, and recorded by David Stahler Jr. All rights reserved.)