The first Tuesday Tune of 2015 comes from one of my favorite bands, The Posies. “You Avoid Parties” appears on the band’s second album, Dear 23, released by DGC Records in 1990.
Dear 23 is one of my favorite albums and since the first listen, I’ve considered “You Avoid Parties” a standout track, largely due to its great vocal harmonies and well-crafted lyrics. Its story is told in second person and every verse reveals a new layer of the narrative. I’ve always thought this song described someone’s struggle with depression as they gradually pull away from the people and things they once enjoyed. Each thing this person avoids – parties, fathers, and thinking – remind them of who they used to be. In particular, the following lyrics stand out to me:
“And all the car rides, cheap insides, laughter with the right people, at the right time, at the right line, at the right frame of mind…”
To me, those lyrics describe the way some people with depression learn to mask it by laughing at the right times, saying the right things, continuing to socialize, etc. as a calculated way to keep others from suspecting that something is wrong.
I’ve looked online for other people’s ideas on the song’s meaning, but unfortunately, I haven’t found much, which is a little disheartening for someone who loves to deconstruct songs and figure out what the songwriter(s) may have meant.
Please tell me I’m not the only person who has fun doing this.
If you’re unfamiliar with The Posies’ work, I would recommend starting with their debut album, Failure, to get an idea of their sound and going in order from there. I don’t believe they’ve ever released a bad album and lyrically, they never disappoint. Plus, I’ve never heard anyone else use “helter-skelter” in a song and make it work.
“And now you avoid parties / Because they remind you / Of someone who you used to know / Pretty soon you’ll want to avoid yourself.”