Denny Sinnoh's "Akihabara Starlight"

Enjoy this song of teen alienation: “Cut My Hair” written by Peter Townshend and performed by The Who.  The song appears on their 1973 album Quadrophenia.

This song is full of teen anxiety, emotional pain and anguish. The Quadrophenia story is set in the early 1960s — when The Who were soaring in popularity with the “Mod” generation of British youth.  The four members of the Who represent the four conflicting personalities of the young schizophrenic protagonist “Jimmy”.  “Schizophrenic?… I’m Bloody Quadrophrenic!”

Surprisingly, almost no one in “my generation” can recall that there was a heated cultural “war” at the time between the “Mods” who embraced the new 1960s pop music and fashion, and the “Rockers” who still clung to the rock-and-roll biker culture of the 1950s.

Funny how such a heated conflict not only does not matter anymore, it did not make any long-term difference.  The era has long been forgotten, even by music historians.  (Although, arguably — most music historians do have a lot of dead brain cells. “Crispy Critters” that lot is.)

Funny how many things that were once of life-and-death significance, are no longer important today.

The song “Cut My Hair” sets the tone for the record.  Sixteen-year olds can certainly relate to the strong emotions and conflicting feelings described within.  I have included a slide show below, derived from the photo booklet which accompanies Quadrophenia.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There are 1960s pop-culture references.  Scooters were important for Mods to have.  The lyric “Zoot suit, white jacket with side vents five inches long” refers to a Mod fashion trend that was gone in a blink of the eye.  “Leapers” refer to amphetamine pills, the drugs used by the young mods to get high.  (BUT PLEASE KIDS, DO NOT TAKE DRUGS!)

Slide1

Here is the thing kids: The emotional pain in these lyrics resonate with 16-year olds, but they may also may be transferred and understood by angst ridden 29-year olds, and believe-it-or-not still have meaning to reflective 55-year olds.  And … and …

PUT DOWN THAT CELL PHONE!!!      … Jesus, nobody listens.

LYRICS:

Why should I care
If I have to cut my hair?
I got to move with the fashion or be outcast
I know I should fight
But my old man, he’s really alright
And I’m still living at home, even though it won’t last

Zoot suit, white jacket with side vents five inches long
I’m out on the street again, and I’m leaping along
Dressed right
For a beach fight
But I just can’t explain
Why that uncertain feeling is still here in my brain

The kids at school have parents that seem so cool
And though I don’t want to hurt em’, mine want me their way

I clean my room and my shoes
But my mama found a box of blues
And there doesn’t seem much hope they’ll let me stay

Zoot suit, white jacket with side vents five inches long
I’m out on the street again, and I’m leaping along
Dressed right
For a beach fight
But I just can’t explain
Why that uncertain feeling is still here in my brain

Why do I have to be different to them
Just to earn the respect of a dance hall friend?
We have the same old row again and again

Why do I have to move with a crowd
Of kids that hardly notice I’m around?
I work myself to death, just to fit in

I’m comin’ down
Got home on the very first train from town
My dad just left for work, he wasn’t talking
It’s all a game
And inside, I’m just the same
My fried egg makes me sick first thing in the morning

——————————————————————————

Starlight: I was inside the core of the star when the hydrogen first fused. 

For more info about this era, view this short documentary about fashion, Mods vs Rockers.

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