Single Review: The Ataris “Boys of Summer”

Boys of Summer
Album: So Long, Astoria
Year: 2003

In 2001, Tori Amos covered Enimen’s ” ’97 Bonnie and Clyde.” With a woman speaking the lyrics, Amos takes the role of the dead mother. She tells her daughter her murder was inevitable and accepts her death. It’s creepy due to the subject matter but also because of how Amos sings it.

Her voice is childlike and firm but not angry. Let’s it put it this way: if your spirit had just seen and felt the pain of your dying, the confusion on your young daughter’s face, and the happiness on your boyfriend’s face who murdered you, wouldn’t your spirit be a wee bit ticked? A resounding yes can be heard in my corner along with a serious side of haunting the hell out of the guy. However, she does not take the route and instead is calm throughout the song. In music, it’s good creepy albeit hard to listen to without the lights on.

The Ataris, however, are unintentenionally creepy in their cover of Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer” and not in the funny, mock terror way either. The guitars are louder and harder, making for a tense atmosphere before the lyrics even start. Then, lead singer Kris Roe is bent out of shape about the summer being over (“nobody on the road…..the sun goes down alone”). But he is not handling the break up of his first summer romance very well as he stalks her and leers: “I’m driving by your house/though I know you’re not home”

By the chorus, he is shouting and threatening he will not ever forgot her and no one will ever be like her. (“I can see you brown skin shining in the sun…And I can tell you my love for you will still be strong/After the boys of summer have gone”).

He wonders if he has been making this all up in his psychopathic mind. But alas, it wasn’t. Instead, it was an unhealthy relationship with him being irritated by her all the time and reacting with abuse (” I never will forget those nights/I wonder if it was a dream/Remember how you made me crazy?/Remember how I made you scream”). They are over and he’s puzzled as to why. The inching and fear which should in his ex-girlfriend’s eyes are some clues. Unless you’re raving a psychopathic like him and really don’t care about others feelings. He wants her back in his life and really show her the type person he really is — Mr. Hyde (“Now I don’t understand what happened to our love/But babe, when I get you back/I’m gonna show you what I’m made of”).

In the bridge, he has calmed down some but the craziness remains. (“A little voice inside my head…I should let them go but”). There’s also a minor change in the lyrics. Instead of the sticker being a Grateful Dead one, it’s a Black Flag sticker. The Ataris, by this point, have already ruined the integrity of the original. Now, they are stomping on the itty bitty pieces of whatever’s left.

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