Nada Surf, ‘Looking Through’ – Song Review
If you're reading this, there's a pretty good chance that you know Nada Surf from a certain '90s novelty hit, the Gen X'er, 'Reality Bites'-like high school send up 'Popular,' which made the band a flash in the alternative rock pan. And, to their credit, the New York band has continued into a 20-year, seven album career. Their latest record, 'The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy' -- with a title that captures the band's sense of whimsical dread -- has a singalong highlight in 'Looking Through.'
The first line of vocalist Matthew Caws' chorus asks, "Is it true? Is it done? Is it over?" He is clearly referring to (his) youth, and the way it slips away, the way that "every birthday candle that's ever got blown out / Is one more year of someone trying to figure it all out." it seems that Nada Surf have figured something out, as in how to create indie pop both upbeat and downtrodden, so much like those unassuming goliaths Death Cab for Cutie (who are, coincidentally, their labelmates).
'Looking Through' includes a few clever turns of phrase among those pop hooks, like "we see lines of symmetry / Sometimes where there are none," a nod to the goofy inaccuracies inherent in romantic pursuits. Caws is contradictory, incorrigible: "always changing, never changing / Never can slow down."
This is the most pithy expression of what Nada Surf are up to, with their '90s jangle and millennial miasma -- a band of high school friends, who, through earnestness, humor and a big break on MTV in the summer of 1996, forged for themselves lives of music -- which is why the second line of the chorus is more pertinent than the first: "Are you dancing?"
Listen to Nada Surf's 'Looking Through'