Things I Liked in 2008: Nada Surf


I don’t know why it took me so long to get into Nada Surf, but suffice to say in 2008 I made up a lot of lost time with them. Their fifth and currently latest album, Lucky was released in February but leaked well before that onto file sharing sites. I’m always somewhat wary when getting into a band for the first time on a later album; by then they’ve usually established sound they could potentially radically depart from on a later release. Saves the Day is a good example of this, as anyone who got into them on In Reverie or later might be in for a surprise when going back to Stay What You Are or Through Being Cool.

Still, I loved Lucky when I heard it. After going back and listening to Nada Surf’s earlier albums, they’ve really crafted a niche for their sound that Lucky fills admirably. Matthew Caws’ voice is still surprisingly youthful given that he’s 41, though his age definitely shows in his lyrics. While previous albums like Let Go and The Weight is a Gift were still somewhat lighthearted and optimistic, there were some more depressing themes about life and love and aging. With Lucky, Caws seemed to realize his age and where his life’s taken him thus far, causing him to reflect on what’s made him “such a lucky mess.”

But don’t think you have to pay attention to the lyrics to enjoy Nada Surf. On a superficial level, every song’s just so damn pleasant. Catchy melodies and lyrical hooks abound. Blast it in your car with the windows down. I’ve never been able to process that Nada Surf’s from New York, they sound like such a California band. Or maybe I just think that because of the word “surf.”

Nada Surf – Lucky

nada surf webster

Also fun was seeing Nada Surf with Bear Hands and The Delta Spirit on my birthday at Webster Hall in Manhattan. If you look in that picture above, I’m directly to the left of the bassist’s leg. Matt Caws sang to me. Heather jumped on stage and got in an “Aw, fuck it” during “Blankest Year.” It was fantastic. I pulled the setlist off of Brooklyn Vegan and posted it below, for those parties interested.

1. Hi-Speed Soul
2. Happy Kid
3. Treehouse
4. Whose Authority?
5. Weightless
6. I Like What You Say
7. Killian’s Red
8. What Is Your Secret?
9. Inside of Love
10. Beautiful Beat
11. The Fox
12. 80 Windows
13. Ice on the Wing
14. Concrete Bed
15. See These Bones
16. Your Legs Grow
17. Imaginary Friends


18. Blizzard of ’77
19. Do It Again
20. Blonde on Blonde
21. Always Love
22. Blankest Year


One response to “Things I Liked in 2008: Nada Surf

  1. Pingback: Things to Do on 1/8/09 - Bear Hands & Kiss Kiss at the Space « Catch as Catch Can

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