Nov 11

The Wrens: “This Boy Is Exhausted”


The Meadowlands has since been expanded to accommodate about 50,000 times more people.

Back home. Done with Vegas. Lost money, as was expected. Fun time had by all, but 2-1/2 days there is plenty…

Getting home late last night feeling pretty wiped out made me think of today’s song, which I’d been intending to post one of these days anyway. The Wrens released “This Boy Is Exhausted” on their third album, 2003’s The Meadowlands (their previous album was titled Secaucus — guess where they’re from?). Plagued by problems with their label, it took the band 7 years to get The Meadowlands recorded and released, and they haven’t been heard from on record since. And that’s a shame: their intense, brooding songs are something of a modern equivalent to a more introspective Bruce Springsteen — there’s definitely some sort of connection bred by that common New Jersey origin. In fact, you could almost think of them as a cross between the “shoegazing” of My Bloody Valentine and the everyman songs of Springsteen. Or maybe they should just be taken on their own terms, regardless of any comparisons.

Their live shows were even better than their albums, focusing that intensity to an even greater degree. Either way, you don’t hear enough about The Wrens these days, although I strongly suspect that they’re one of those bands who have influenced many more fellow musicians than music fans — listen to their albums and you’re very likely to be able to pinpoint some sounds showing up in more current (and very likely more commercially successful) bands. “This Boy Is Exhausted” has an anthemic feel to it, a tale of the trial and tribulations that The Wrens suffered between those two albums. Despite the specificity of many of the lyrics, the song is still relatable to anyone who has felt stuck in life:

Cause I’m caught
I can’t type
I can’t temp
I’m way past college
No ways out
No back doors
Not anymore.

There’s a sincerity and unassuming earnestness to their music that deserves a place somewhere in the annals of rock, even if it is “only” as an influential-with-a-cult-following type of band, a la Big Star. There are worse fates…

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