This Year


 The Sunset Tree




the Mountain Goats



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This Year is the third song on the album The Sunset Tree. It also appears as the 16th and 35th songs on the 2020 live album The Jordan Lake Sessions: Volumes 1 and 2. The song has an official music video directed by Andy Bruntel, which can be viewed here. It was selected by popular vote as the top song for Guardian Australia's Good Riddance 2020 playlist.

Lyrics[edit | edit source]

I broke free on a Saturday morning
I put the pedal to the floor
Headed north on Mills avenue
And listened to the engine roar

My broken house behind me and good things ahead
A girl named Cathy wants a little of my time
Six cylinders underneath the hood crashing and kicking
Aha, listen to the engine whine

I am going to make it through this year
If it kills me
I am going to make it through this year
If it kills me

I played video games in a drunken haze
I was seventeen years young
Hurt my knuckles punching the machines
The taste of scotch rich on my tongue

And then Cathy showed up and we hung out
Trading swigs from a bottle all bitter and clean
Locking eyes, holding hands
Twin high maintenance machines

I am going to make it through this year
If it kills me
I am going to make it through this year
If it kills me

I drove home in the California dusk
I could feel the alcohol inside of me hum
Pictured the look on my stepfather's face
Ready for the bad things to come
I down shifted as I pulled into the driveway
The motor screaming out stuck in second gear
The scene ends badly as you might imagine
In a cavalcade of anger and fear

There will be feasting and dancing
In Jerusalem next year

I am going to make it through this year
If it kills me
I am going to make it through this year
If it kills me

Comments by John Darnielle About this Song[edit | edit source]

  • "This is a song about how sometimes you are living in a house and you're in high school and your stepfather is abusing your mother and you, and it really sucks. You have to take a lot of drugs to deal with that, right, but you don't have to, I should say. But you probably do. And when you do, they make you feel marginally better but the main thing that makes you feel better is the company of other people who are as damaged as you are or will shortly become as damaged as you are, and you can sense it, because there is an internal sensor if you bear some damage, you have this sensor that says 'That person is either damaged or is getting there, and I think I will hang out with her until things get a little brighter.' I play this for a lovely person who wore a cape to school." -- 2011-03-30 - Bowery Ballroom - New York, NY
  • "You have these little moments that you don’t know are saving your life because they feel tawdry and squalid at the time. I had a corduroy coat that belonged to my father that he had given to me because he had moved on to a new corduroy coat and I noticed that it had a rip in the lining so I could put a fifth of Cutty Sark in there and go to school. Cutty Sark is terrible stuff and hard to stomach when you’re seventeen but I figured it out. (Do I have to change guitars, Avel? Okay.) Then I can tell the long version of this story. So, Cutty Sark. It’s a scotch whiskey, and it’s not very, how do I say this, it’s not very good. But I had some. And I had it in the lining of this old corduroy coat that belonged to my father which seemed kind of important to me. He was sober, he’d been on the program for a decade at that point but I myself was not, because I was having a pretty bad year of it when I was seventeen and I was getting worse and worse as a person. I was not getting, it was bad, it was real bad, but you have these moments, I was saying, where people are sort of saving your life and I spent a Saturday afternoon hanging out in a parking garage that was under construction at a place at Harvey Mudd called the Mudd Hole that had the Gorgar pinball machine. That machine knows who its boss is. They had Crystal Castles featuring Bentley Bear. They had Quiz & Dragons later on, but at this time they mainly had a hallway where me and a friend could sit and pass a bottle of scotch back and forth while I waited to go back home to get my ass beat. This is called This Year." -- 2019-09-12 - The Fillmore - San Francisco, CA

Things Referenced in this Song[edit | edit source]

"There will be feasting and dancing in Jerusalem next year" is a reference to the tradition of saying "Next year in Jerusalem," at the end of the Passover Seder.

Live Shows this Song Was Played at[edit | edit source]

Videos of this Song[edit | edit source]

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