When I was about ten or eleven, our family was between houses for a few months. During this time, we lived in an apartment building close to the new neighborhood. I remember that time rather well due to the couple living next door to us. The reason for my vivid recollection of them is that they fought all the time – day in, day out. However, it wasn’t just the screaming and fighting that made them so memorable. It was that they both threw things out the window in the heat of the fight. As a matter of fact, my friends and I used to joke about them. We called the guy “Terminator” and the woman Sarah (as in the movie Terminator).
Not realizing how serious domestic disturbance can get, we used to bet a few bucks, every Friday after school, on which household items would decorate the backyard of the building on Saturday morning. That is until one morning when we found the woman sitting in the backyard lawn next to a smashed television set, her face all bruised up. Of course, that’s when the whole thing ceased to be funny. Even as a group of fifth graders, we understood that what was happening next door was no laughing matter. Unfortunately, sometimes children are forced to deal with issues even graver than unruly neighbors. Our track of the week, ”Kids On The Corner” by The People The Poet, sheds light on one such issue: murder.
However, before going deeper into the lyrics of the song, I wish to say a few words about the music, mostly because ”Kids On The Corner” so clearly continues the winning streak that The People The Poet are on. What a pleasure it is to have the front row seat to this band reaching their peak one single at a time. And make no mistake, that’s what we are witnessing here.
You see, like all their fans, I too was slightly concerned about what their next single was going to be like. The question in my mind was: How do you write a follow-up to such a fantastic song as ”Where The Dandelions Roar”? Another concern was whether the new single was going to be more or less a repeat of the previous one – to use a native American expression: same horse, different saddle. Boy, were those concerns groundless!
”Kids On The Corner” is laden with powerful drums (I love the simplified tom-tom beat, the playful hi-hat towards the end and the controlled use of the crash cymbal), majestic vocals, awesome banjo-like guitar picking (which gives the tune a slight folk-rock feel) and the very nice Springsteenish keyboards (mainly the Spectorish bells and the cool piano outro).
As one would expect, the lyrics are top notch and once again, tell an intriguing story. Impressed by the line ”We were kids on the corner but we never saw what was coming around it,” I decided to send The People The Poet an email asking them to elaborate on the lyrics. Says Leon Stanford:
I wrote the lyrics imagining sitting on the corners and thinking of how scared the younger me would be if I could see the future around the corner.
When asked about the murder mentioned in the song, Leon explains:
There was a murder around the corner from where me and my mates would hang out all the time, and they didn’t find the body until 20 years later.
Pretty grim stuff! Life can be dark sometimes.
My favorite lines in the song are the ones that exclaim how ”the moment never lasts” and how life passes you by in ”the blink of an eye.” I suppose they hold a special meaning for me because at forty-five I am beginning to understand how quickly it actually happens: One day, you are seventeen; the next day, it seems, you are in your forties. And the irony of it all is that when you are seventeen, you don’t really see yourself aging, let alone dying one day. Leon agrees with me on this notion:
When you’re a kid you think you’ll never die but life is so fast and so precious. As a child, you’re oblivious to all the consequences and how cruel life can be sometimes.
Couldn’t have put it better myself.
With yet another outstanding single, The People The Poet are raising the bar for modern rock songs even higher. It’s high enough now for their peers to start sweating but presumably still low enough for them to completely and utterly floor us with their next offering. I don’t know about you but I can hardly wait to hear it.
Check out the official music video of “Matchday” – it’s a lot of fun!
You can learn more about The People The Poet here:
About the curator - Tommi Tikka
Tom Tikka is a linguist, poet, professional songwriter, recording artist and a music aficionado. He started playing guitar when he was four and writing songs when he was six. Consequently, he doesn't remember a time when he wasn't playing or writing. It's fair to say, music and lyrics are not just something he loves to engage himself in; to him, they are a way of life.