• 11

    Neil Young - "Sugar Mountain"

    Lyric: "Now you're underneath the stairs / And you're giving back some glares / To the people who you met / And it's your first cigarette"

    One of the things Neil Young is good at is describing social situations in which the lonely, introspective narrator relates his alienation from the rest of society. It never gets old though, because he manages to capture the nuances of various settings with uncanny ability. In this particular song, Neil paints the picture of a carnival or fair, and how the facade and trappings of a "fun" place like Sugar Mountain quickly fall away. The line here, though, about him glaring at the crowd and hiding underneath the stairs to smoke his first cigarette feels like a perfect summation of so many juvenile "first time" encounters. It also speaks to the way that humans try to use cigarettes to separate themselves out from others, or take a break from larger group settings, in many ways taking a smoke break functions as an escape from the monotony of otherwise unrelenting social pressures.