Isn't it great to exist at this point in time?
Where the produce is rotten but no one is forgotten
On strawberry Philadelphia Drive
Children in the sprinkler, junkies on the corner
The smell of fried foods and pure hot tar
Man, you needn't travel far to feel completely alive
On strawberry Philadelphia Drive
On a hazy day in 19 something and 5


Lyrics submitted by I Saw Star Wars

Dayton Ohio - 19 Something And 5 song meanings
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4 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentThis is one of my favourite GbV songs even though it's relatively obscure.

    This song captures the essence of a typical day in Dayton, Ohio, warts and all.
    However, mainly through a clever title, it expands that into saying this is a typical day and it could have occurred anytime in any year ending in a 5 and thus this place never changes.
    elwyn5150on March 16, 2006   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis song (Pollard-penned, I suppose) is almost a clear rebuttal to Randy Newman's "Dayton, Ohio - 1903." Newman's song seems to be a commentary on the breakdown of the unwritten social codes which govern people's relations with one another. He wants to evoke a simpler time when "The air was clean and you could see / That folks were nice to you." Newman also links technological and industrial progress and its attendant liabilities with his suppositions that social mores are fraying. That tale, of course, is inextricably tied up with the history of Dayton, Ohio.

    Ostensibly, Bob Pollard rises to defend his hometown. The very first line of the song, "Isn't it great to exist at this point in time?" directly contrasts Newman's opener "Sing a song of long ago"

    I think the ultimate meaning of the song is more than a simple rebuttal of the acid-tongued composer who gave us the Toy Story theme, however. Pollard's lyrics focus on the negative realities as well as the positive, as the close proximity of the lines "Children in the sprinkler / Junkies on the corner / The smell of fried foods and hot tar" clearly demonstrate (In the mid to late nineties, I conjecture that the once-genteel Dayton neighborhoods of Grafton Hill and Five Oaks on the near West Side were lousy with drug trafficking. I heard somewhere that the Dayton P.D. eventually resorted to placing roadblocks on through streets, which helped them get a handle on the situation.) The coexistence of good and bad qualities is reinforced by the imagery of the "hazy day."

    Historical notes aside, I think the way Pollard really responds to Newman is that, even in the face of clearly malicious or evil realities, life is still a thing which is good an worth living. An attentive, peaceful observer and participant can still find meaning and fulfillment in the everyday facts of living, which is why the penultimate line is "Man, you needen't travel far to feel completely alive." No, you needen't not even in the Gem City. Hell, it was good enough to produce one of the great bona fide geniuses of rock and roll.
    alienlanes06on January 26, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentcf. Randy Newman, "Dayton, Ohio - 1903"
    alienlanes06on January 26, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreat song from a great band!
    Pierredudion July 02, 2014   Link

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