Single Review: The Ataris “In This Diary”

In This Diary
Album: So Long, Astoria
Year: 2003

Lead singer Kris Roe idealizes his youth in the impersonal “In This Diary.”

Hyper, feel-good guitars begin the single. Roe has a journal which he plans to write in the memories of past summers. It’s the time he had the most fun with his friends. He remembers singing with his friends and only caring about the present. He talked all night with them about everything with the radio playing 80s songs in the background. They would repeat lines from the favorite movies. The memories, although generic, make him happy. (“Here in this diary/I write you visions of my summer/It was the best I ever had/There were choruses and sing-alongs/And that unspoken feeling of knowing/Right now is all that matters/All the nights we stayed up talking/and listening to 80’s songs;/quoting lines from all those movies that we love/
It still brings a smile to my face/I guess when it comes down to it.”)

He liked being a kid and later a teenager. Those are his glory years. Nothing has measured up since. How pathetic. He advises people living in their past that they will become adults soon. (“Being grown up isn’t half as fun as growing up:/These are the best days of our lives/The only thing that matters/is just following your heart/and eventually you’ll finally get it right.”)

He recalls the time he and his friends pretended they were guests at a hotel once in order to use the pool. They would loiter at the local truck spots and talk for hours. They would set off fireworks in parking lots and drink pop under the stars. He realizes he needs to let it go and says goodbye to his childhood home. He’s ready to be an adult. (“Breaking into hotel swimming pools/and wreaking havoc on our world/Hanging out at truck stops just to pass the time/The black top’s singing me to sleep/Lighting fireworks in parking lots/illuminate the blackest nights/Cherry Cokes under this moonlight summer sky/2015 Riverside, it’s time to say, “goodbye.”/Get on the bus, it’s time to go.”)

The chorus ends the song.

Kris Roe is intending to make a “Senior Song,” for graduting high school twelfth-graders. However, the memories read like a list of cliches of what teenagers imagine their lives to be. The idyllic teenagehood doesn’t exist. But Roe believes it does, making him a person avoiding adulthood.

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