Center City 1 was written and recorded by me at my apartment at 23rd and Arch in Center City Philadelphia in 2010.
1, also, was written in
late 2010 out of the pronounced sense that the euphoria of Aughts Philadelphia
and Neo-Romanticism, the dream-like trance it engendered, had dissipated into
the mist of the Great Recession. Thus, the playpen that Center
had been for me and my cronies was not there any more, and had become a place
of privations and deficits. The characters in the song have something in common
with Springsteen characters— youth, desperation, willingness to stand up
against authority— but they are more involved in the arts and in “hipster-ism”
in general, including deals and dealing. As of 2015, are there any real hipsters left in Center City America, like
Sara? When the dream ended in Philadelphia
as of around 2009— and it did end, very specifically, for many of us, in the
summer of 2009— we all had to crawl our way towards whatever new life we could
establish for ourselves. It is no surprise that the sound of this “crawl” in
the Recession’s crawlspace is a plaintive one— here, just me and a guitar.