Over December break, I fell into the never-ending void that is Spotify, and I may have discovered the best song to ever be released on the platform, “Waltham Song” by The Guy Who Sings Songs About Cities. It is an ephemeral piece of music that touches upon important themes such as community, nature and friendship, and I implore you to listen to it when you have the time. And now, an analysis of “Waltham Song.”
The Guy Who Sings Songs about Cities, henceforth shortened to “The Guy,” dives immediately into the subject at hand, Waltham, by singing “Waltham, what a good city.” He then touches upon a piece of history important to Waltham, telling awestruck listeners that “it’s the Watch City.” It is always important to make sure that the history of a location is kept alive, and The Guy is doing his due diligence by informing listeners of Waltham’s ties to the watch-making industry.
The Guy also pays careful attention to the close-knit relationships between people who live in Waltham, stating that “Waltham, Massachusetts is a wonderful community.” Careful listeners will also note that in the following line, The Guy says that Waltham is “located in Massachusetts,” imparting important knowledge about Waltham and demonstrating a deep understanding of the city.
Pivoting to the topic of living in Waltham, The Guy passionately argues that “it’s a wonderful place to be.” As someone who has now lived at Brandeis for a few months, I can wholeheartedly back this statement up. Continuing, he supports his argument with statements such as “Waltham is a great place (yeah)” and “I like Waltham a lot.” Not to get personal in this analysis, but I really felt the emotion behind that last line. I do like Waltham a lot!
The methodology behind repeating the words Waltham and Massachusetts throughout the song clearly demonstrates a profound understanding of what people living in Waltham care about most. The Guy also touches upon some of the lesser-known geographic locations of Waltham, such as the Charles River (“look at that Charles River!”) Ellison Park (“let’s go to Ellison Park as well”), and Ravenswood (“yeah, let’s go to Ravenswood). The Guy rounds out his lyrical tour of Waltham by simply singing, “so many wonderful sections of Waltham.” Sometimes, it is nice to see a song artist comment on the locations only a true native Waltham-er would know. I, too, enjoy going to the different sections of Waltham. Just the other day, I was speaking to a friend, and I said, “hey, when was the last time we went to a section of Waltham?” Listening to “Waltham Song” reminded me of that moment with my friend, and has brought me and my friend closer together over our shared love of Waltham.
Adding to the theme of community, The Guy also speaks about the fire department, saying that Waltham has “a good fire department putting out all the fires and helping people.” I appreciate that The Guy used some of the valuable runtime of “Waltham Song” (and for reference, the song has a runtime of one minute and forty-three seconds) to speak about the valuable contributions the Waltham fire department has made, and continues to make, to our community. When there are no fires burning, the fire department is an often overlooked aspect of any city, and the fact that The Guy calls it to attention despite this indicates the quality of our Waltham fire department.
No lyric of the song stands out more to me than the line “they got good streets and trees and stuff.” Though my time spent in Waltham has so far been limited, I have enjoyed the changing of the seasons immensely. There is just something profound about watching the leaves on the trees shift from green on the branches to orange to brown on the ground. The Guy captures the seasonal emotions perfectly and concisely. I have also enjoyed walking to Hannafords and discovering that, no matter which street you walk down, you will still end up where you need to go. To The Guy’s point, Waltham does have “good streets” because they all connect to one another. It is very important to me to live in a city where the streets are connected, much like how the Waltham community is connected.
Towards the end of the song, The Guy sings “let’s walk along the beautiful Charles River.” These lyrics are a perfect summation of why Waltham is (to quote The Guy) such “a wonderful place to be.” Living in Waltham allows one to appreciate the different ecological elements of the land. It reminds me of leaving my dorm room in the chilly mornings and encountering turkeys on the way to my UWS class, of watching two squirrels argue with one another up a tree, and of finding a singular frozen puddle up the Rabb steps. The Guy truly wants us, the listeners, to go out and enjoy the great outdoors of Waltham. And I intend to do exactly that.
You can listen to “Waltham Song” by The Guy Who Sings Songs About Cities on Spotify.