Positive Jam is the first track from Almost Killed Me. It is 3:19.
Woke up in the '20s, there were flappers and fruits in white suits; it was right before the crash. We got thrashed throughout the '30s, queuing up for soup in scabby sores, and they sent us off to war. We came back in the '40s, there were wheelchairs, guns and tickertape; we poured it on the floor and made love to the interstates. We got shiftless in the '50s, holding hands and going steady; twisting into dark parts of large midwestern cities. Tripped right through the '60s with some blissful little hippie; some Kennedys got shot while you were screwing San Francisco. The '70s got heavy, we woke up on bloody carpets; got tangled up in gaslines, I guess that's where it started. The '80s almost killed me, let's not recall them quite so fondly; some Kennedy O.D.'ed while we watched on MTV. In the '90s, we were wired and well connected; put it all down on technology and lost everything we invested.
We got to start it with a positive jam.
Positive Jam is an exceedingly concise retrospective view of the Twentieth Century and the way white, middle-class Mid-Westerners began the new millenium not that far away from the way they began post-WWI America. The verses read like short historical abstracts, encapsulating the decades between 1920 and 2000 in a single sentence. It is both a comment on the heavy inertia of centrist/conservative Americans, and a statement of purpose for THS Band. Finn appears to be saying that Americans, despite all of their wealth and resources, can't help falling into the same broad cycles of feast and famine, prosperity and poverty, highs and lows. This broad framing of the American psyche goes on to inform nearly all of the characters who appear in THS songs. From Holly's desire to be saved contrasted with her need to go with whoever is going to get her the highest, to the narrator's desire to come back to Minneapolis a success, while still feeling connected with the burnouts at the Party Pit; ambiguity and ambivalence throw the people who walk into THS narrative from one extreme to the other.
Postive Jam is a mission statement.
Live Craig often sings "Clusterfuck" instead of "Clustered-up".
the Mountain Goats covered this at Zoop 2, 6/13/2009