The personal website of Chris Coyier

To Be Young (Is to be Sad, is to Be High)

This Ryan Adams song has been earworming me for months.

Different parts of it get into my head. Usually the abrupt minor chord-y chorus:

Oh one day when you’re looking back
You were young and man you were sad
When you’re young you get sad
When you’re young you get sad then you get high

That’s such a beautiful bit. It has a very “Boots of Spanish Leather” feel to it. I didn’t even think of the song as a kinda generic shitkicking country number, but I think if you didn’t know the tune and flipped to it on the radio that’s how it would feel. Especially the beginning of the verses.

Young boy you done me bad I went and did ya wrong
Young boy you done me bad I went and did ya wrong

The first time I heard it, it was on David Rawlings Machine record. I thought
David wrote it, then Googling around led me to all the Ryan Adams stuff. But apparently they co-wrote it (as mentioned at the top of this video):

Kind of a long time ago, because the Ryan Adams record it came out on was released in 2000.

I like the song no matter how it’s done, but obviously I’m a little penchant to the fiddle-n-banjo. I’d give my left big toe to have been in that room. Them are the fellas from Old Crow Medicine Show (who now have a new record out that’s as good as their early stuff!):

I’ve always enjoyed Blitzen Trapper too, and it’s cool to hear them do it:

Sometimes the major-seven bridge gets in my head too. I’m not even sure I love that part but it’s just so weird I think it helps make the song.

There is lots of bad covers on YouTube (which I also obsessed over). Here’s one I like:

I’ll refrain from posting my own.