As the 97’s celebrate the 15th anniversary of the release of Too Far To Care, I will take the opportunity to dig into my addled memory for some stories and insights. I’ll start with a track-by-track retrospective of the album’s thirteen songs. I will address them in reverse order, finishing appropriately with “Timebomb”.
Track 09 – “Just Like California”
“Just Like California” is a simple fantasy about being in love with a girl named Clementine who lived in California until the San Andreas Fault gave way, dropping the whole state into the Pacific Ocean. There must be a million songs based on that premise, right?
California carries such a weight of mythology. I don’t know whether I’ve written more songs about it or Chicago, but to me both bring a rich subtext to any song in which they appear, as if the places are, themselves, characters.
The “single” off Too Far To Care was “Timebomb,” and while that is a fan favorite, I can see, in retrospect, that it sounds like nothing that has ever appeared on commercial radio. I argued then, and believe to this day, that “Just Like California” would have had a chance to sneak into those tight FM playlists. But what then? Would we have had a “hit” and flamed out? I’m pretty damn happy with the way things have gone. Here I am, fifteen years later, still playing for a living.
I like to drop little Easter Eggs into my songs, frequently making minute allusions to other songs, books, etc. The chorus of “Just Like California” contains one such allusion. Can you spot it?
PS: Have your own memories of “Just Like California” or Too Far To Care in general? Tweet them at me.
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