The Clearing Track By Track: Still Catching Up

Yesterday I got into all the fun and quirky things that inspired “Camp” today we take a look at a much more lyrically direct track with “Still Catching Up”.

Give it a listen on my YouTube Channel before we jump in:

“Still Catching Up” kicks off at about 11:25, in case this video link doesn’t automatically direct you.

About the Track:

Still Catching Up was one of my absolute favourites from the initial demos. It’s not particularly complicated, the same rhythm runs throughout with the only instrumentation really giving it any distinct flavour being the lead guitar line that weaves in and out of the verses.

It’s a straight up rock song with a little bite and I’m really proud of how it turned out.

Lyrically it’s a little tongue-in-cheek as I think about the way people tend to force their own beliefs and opinions on you, no matter the subject matter and no matter their own level of expertise in the subject, and at times completely fooling even themselves into believing their own delusions.

When I wrote this one I was thinking broadly about just that; how people are so quick and so bold to assume that “their way” is “the” way.

The worst offenders of this tend to overuse phrases and notions of gratitude and blessings without being understanding of the fact that not everyone follows these types of mantra’s and beyond that, you might be overlooking some of the own luck that has graced your own life before you go around telling other people the way to achieve the same level of success and happiness. This is where the line “and don’t you wish you were so blessed” come from in the first verse.

To clarify, I grew up in what’s considered a pretty affluent community which is to say that the parents of many of my friends found great success when they were younger, landing great jobs and being able to afford down payments on houses that would go on to be worth well more than their initial asking price. Beyond that, they like to show it off.

When you grow up in this type of community there is a certain air about it; a smugness and a precedent. Everyone wants their own kids to see the same level of success and when you don’t hit those same milestones and targets, it’s easy to feel like you’re not living up to your own potential. Of course, you’re basing this potential off the needs, thought and feelings of others instead of determining what path would be most fulfilling to you personally.

As a result, many families go well out of their way to try and lift up their kids; put them into private schools, private tutoring, getting them the best coaches and trainers for their best shot at the local hockey team, buying them their first car (an Audi, not a Honda – that’s low brow around here), getting them a high-paying job at the family factory without any education, and so on.

And what has only become more and more apparent to me the older I get is that while all these things look good on the outset, they really aren’t fulfilling the basic needs of these people, and for the sake of this post and this song, I’m referring to the type of people I grew up with.

I want to stress that there’s nothing inherently wrong with doing this, providing this type of support to your kids or friends if you’re that generous, but “Still Catching Up” hones in on the fact that not only is this not particularly attainable to most people in the world, there are a lot of barriers for people that barre them from every even seeing their own potential never mind realizing it in a meaningful way.

And what I’ve noticed about many of the people I’ve described to you above is that they aren’t particularly keen of being reminded of this fact. And when they are, they’d rather pretend it’s just not true; after all it wasn’t their experience so surely, there’s something wrong with the theory.

These are the “you just have to work hard and you, too, can own a mansion backing onto a golf course at 25 years old” crowd. These are the, “you’re just not trying hard enough,” crowd. These are the, “what do you mean there are no good jobs,” crowd.

This attitude doesn’t serve most people and if you ask me, stifles our society as a whole. It doesn’t uplift anybody but those who are already standing on the tallest ladders, and every time they diminish these barriers and the vulnerable people they affect they further hinder the meaningful progress we need to make as a society.

But all that said, in the conversations I’ve had with many of my friends who fall very much into these grand lifestyles, the phrases I’ve often heard them say to me over the years? “You’re so lucky you persued something you’re passionate about,” and “I wish I tried to chase (x) dream when I was younger”.

Which is to say, I know a whole lot of people that are on paper very wealthy, but just about damn near dead inside at 30 years old.

The grass is always greener, as it were.

In the second verse of this track I pull away from that a little and I’m speaking broadly about the way people use social media as their own personal highlight reel. People will say and do almost anything to show the world that they’re secure with themselves, proud of their goals and accomplishments, even if it means inventing them entirely. To me there’s almost no greater tell that in this day and age that actually, they’re struggling.

In the bridge I’m speaking almost directly to some of the people I grew up with, having watched the way people have grown from the kids I’d ride bikes and talk about our dreams with to heavy-hitter lawyers and business-industry success stories who’d rather tell you about their new car.

It’s a shame when you realize you’ve grown so far apart from people that you once felt would never leave your side, but that’s life.

The chorus of “Still Catching Up” serves to remind people like me, yearning for those old connections and looking back on these relationships with rosy eyes that, hey they’re doing their thing but there’s nothing wrong with what you’re doing either, as long as you’re working towards what make you happy and fulfilled.

Official Lyrics:

Funny how long people spend
Preaching you live your life like them
They’ve got an all in one sure fire plan to eternal happiness
and don’t you wish you were so blessed

But they’re the ones still catching up
So far behind it’s laughable
Can’t keep up with basic tasks
Got all the answers, no one asked
Sell what you want but no one’s buying it

Funny how some people have
So much silk to spin, twist and conquest
They’re calculated, it’s for attention
Bored and clearly misdirected
But don’t you wish you were smart like them

But they’re the ones still catching up
So far behind it’s laughable
Can’t keep up with basic tasks
Got all the answers, no one asked
Sell what you want but no one’s buying it

And at this point, it’s pretty sad
You’ve really gotta admit
Used to think that you were
So much better than this

But you’re the one still catching up
So far behind it’s laughable
Can’t keep up with basic tasks
Got all the answers, no one asked
Sell what you want but no one’s buying it

A Little More:

Sometime in my early 20’s I gradually made the shift from persuing my own passions to persuing some level of financial success, feeling that I was falling behind my peers and thinking that somewhere along the way after I built myself a nice cushion I’d be able to return to the things I truly love doing.

What I found instead is that when I think about this shift, I regret making it entirely.

I’m in no better financial shape today than I was in my 20’s (arguably far worse off), but I did eventually find my way back to who I was and who I am.

And while I may have no real sense of how to get to where I want to go from here, at least I know that I’m making those decisions for myself, spending my time doing something I genuinely love doing, and I’m much happier for it.

You guessed it, there will be another blog tomorrow as I tackle track 5 from The Clearing. Come back!

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