Atta Boy’s “Walden Pond” Reminds Us of What We’ve Lost & Tells Us How to Get It Back

Out of Sorts - Atta Boy
Out of Sorts - Atta Boy
Taken off Atta Boy’s 2012 debut album ‘Out of Sorts,’ the warm and wistful “Walden Pond” encompasses the idea of reconnecting with nature and your inner child.
Stream: “Walden Pond” – Atta Boy

Certain sounds and smells can transport us back to very specific times in our lives; times when things were simple and sweet and untainted by the burdens of adult life. We all have memories like this, even if we can’t always access them. When this feeling of unadulterated nostalgia hits, there isn’t much else to do other than enjoy the pleasantly overwhelming feeling. Nostalgia, innocence lost, growing up; a tale as old as time.

Can we return to this state of childhood innocence, even for just a moment? Can we use the past as a tool of self-discovery? These are only a handful of the topics and questions addressed by Atta Boy’s “Walden Pond,” as this piece of work is every bit as complex as that of Thoreau.

Out of Sorts, Atta Boy's debut album, released in 2023 via Diamond City and Many Hats Distribution
Out of Sorts, Atta Boy’s debut album, released in 2023 via Diamond City and Many Hats Distribution

“Walden Pond” was released in 2012 on Atta Boy’s first album, Out of Sorts. The band then went dormant for nearly a decade before they began to release music once again in 2020. Their music – falling in the categories of gentle folk and indie rock while simultaneously transcending genre – often focuses on the joys in life, a topic which is often overlooked in favor of darker and perhaps more customary emotions. With their resurgence in the past few years, there is no better time to take a look and a listen at their older work; and there is no better song than “Walden Pond.”

I hope you spend your days
writing verses on your page

May your life be a Walden Pond swim
Taking showers in the cold
And your glasses filled to their brim
Atta Boy © Sarah Midkiff
Atta Boy © Sarah Midkiff

The orchestral opening to “Walden Pond,” followed by a steady drum beat not unlike that of a heart and a simple chord progression, pairs perfectly with the lyrics. The song, written like an ode, opens with a stanza that immediately transports the listener into a natural world unburdened by societal, technological or financial pressures. This may seem a lot to glean from a few short sentences, but there are layers of meaning within the simplicity. These lyrics depict the simple joys in life; things that often fall by the wayside when responsibilities take over. However, these little moments are essential to overall happiness. Small moments where we do things purely to derive joy – taking cold showers, going for a swim, writing poetry – are the essence of humanity and a necessity we have lost sight of post-childhood. The imagery-laden verses (genius in their simplicity) of “Walden Pond” reminds people of the untapped joy that is hidden in each day.

And I hope it’s testified for you the best had been denied
May your life be a Walden Pond swim
May you find your love to last
And the times you have are never grim

While this is a song about joy, hard times are not thrown by the wayside. They are acknowledged and accepted as part of one’s growth and an equally valid sphere of the human condition. The lyrics encourage feeling joy and hope while valuing darker parts of life, as they are two sides of the same coin and not mutually exclusive. This piece also encourages the listener to return to a place in the natural world that has meaning to them, even if just in their mind.

Atta Boy © Sarah Midkiff
Atta Boy © Sarah Midkiff

The cleansing properties of water and nature are a huge theme throughout these lyrics. The listener is gently reminded of being a child and spending time outside caught up in one’s own imagination. The natural world provided a playground that no kind of technology or man-made structure could ever hold a candle to. “Walden Pond” captures this idea perfectly, creating a beautiful, comforting melody that wraps around the listener like a wool blanket on a misty morning. The song is like a mother comforting a child after a long cathartic cry; a feeling of release and relief. Comfort and forgiveness of transgressions past manifested in song.

The emphasis on reconnecting with nature and one’s roots brings the listener out of their own head, allowing them to reconnect with passions long forgotten and taking the pressure off of mundane stresses. “Walden Pond” is a reprieve from banality and a welcome respite from “real” life, whatever that means to the listener. But who said we have to live in the real world? Who says we can’t all live within the masterpiece that is Atta Boy’s “Walden Pond”?

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Stream: “Walden Pond” – Atta Boy

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Out of Sorts, Atta Boy's debut album, released in 2023 via Diamond City and Many Hats Distribution

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