Afterschool Rerun – Waiting For You
Stephen Hawking theorized that, when the universe reaches the furthest extent of its Big Bang powered expansion and begins to contract back upon itself to eventually implode in a massive hole of blackness, the movie of each person’s life will run in reverse, each of our presumably-dead selves exhumed from the grave to walk backwards from the point of our death, becoming younger each day until we are thrust screaming into our mother’s womb. The horror of this projection is that, on a fateful day in the distant future, I will re-enter my home town by backing a VW Beetle down the originally eastbound – now inexplicably westbound – lanes of I-40, walk backwards across the stage of my high school auditorium, hand over my diploma to Mr. Holloway, and spend the next twelve years re-engaged in massive boredom, daily indignity, and occasional sadness during which I will unlearn everything, becoming stupider by the day as I once again rub shoulders with the semi-literate and massively inbred denizens of Middle Tennessee from which I had previously desperately sought to escape. If there is even the slightest chance that Hawking’s postulation is correct, if there is a 0.0000001% chance that I will someday return to Cookeville, Tennessee as an actual resident, then I propose that every country in the world pool its intellectual and monetary resources in the search for a solution to this incipient catastrophe. I can live with Global Warming (I plan to take my shirt off). But I can’t rewind through my childhood without massive doses of the anti-depressants that had yet to be prescribed for me. The only potential plus side to the Hawking Scenario is that I look forward to chasing a bully down a middle school hallway, catching him, and then forcibly expelling his foot from my butt.
In their self-named new album, Afterschool Rerun describes with starkly realistic lyrics the trials of a boy, a young adult, or a young adult trapped in his childhood surroundings. “Waiting For You” presents the child lying on his bed, alone in the house as ten o’clock approaches, the headlights of the passing cars crawling across the walls of the room to illuminate in turn the toy box, the fish bowl, the frog-covered poster board above the bed as the waiting child longs to hear a car slow then turn into the driveway, its headlights sweeping a fast arc across the room before focusing on the unopened garage door. Or in a alternative universe, the soul is in his twenties, trapped amid the detritus of his early days, anticipating not the return of a parent but the arrival of a lover, one who is willing to accept a partner with demonstrably limited prospects for advancement and Coca-Cola bed sheets.
“Waiting For You” opens with a poppy yet darkly nostalgic organ line populating an introduction that stretches for a full one-minute-twelve as Afterschool Rerun eschews the Eric Carmen “Hurry Up And Get To The Chorus” aesthetic. Energetic drumming and solid guitars drive the song along, but the real star of the show is the lead vocal, delivered by someone with a great voice who knows how to use it for subtle expressiveness.
Afterschool Rerun is Nick (no last name), who “lives in Philadephia and spends most of his time listening to REM.” He has been recording music for a decade, but Afterschool Rerun represents his first attempt at a cohesive album. “I thought it would be interesting to arrange the songs in roughly chronological order, based on the age I was in the lyrics,” he told me. “It fell into place from there, I think. The album cover is actually a photo from my 2nd birthday party, the same party the audio clips bookending the album are from.”
Bonus Songs of the Day: The aforementioned audio clips from Nick’s birthday, plus “Pudding,” a spritely song about driving four hours to be present for a loved-one’s surgery, and drawing comfort from pudding purchased in the hospital cafeteria. Nick’s ability to address a painful memory through the medium of memorable pop music marks Afterschool Rerun as an adventuresome concept album worthy of critical attention.
You can support deserving independent musicians like Afterschool Rerun (Nick) by visiting his Bandcamp page, listening to his songs, and downloading your favorite tracks. Or buy the entire album. I’m sure no one will mind. And be sure to follow Afterschool Rerun on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.