The first time I heard Terrestrial Man was while Jack Van Cleaf was opening for Noah Kahan on his Stick Season tour. Noah brought Jack and his band on because of how much he loved the Californians lyricism, and this song seeks to follow that trend tenfold.
It is written from the perspective of Jack’s father who is an airplane pilot, and the lyrics are an outpouring of wisdom that he hopes to bestow upon Jack while he embarks on his life of endless travel. The song romanticizes airports and is an acceptance that life on the road can sometimes feel better than what’s waiting for us at the end of our trip.
To deepen the layers of this sonic onion of a song, Terrestrial Man showcases a father who thought he knew exactly what he wanted in life, and as the track comes to an end that emotion changes to a feeling of hopelessness and a lust to be understood by his son. The desperation shines through as time passes, and Van Cleaf lets the message fly as his vocals become raspy and passionate as the song draws its curtains back.
Terrestrial Man allows us to process a scenario that a lot of us feel, but have never been able to find the exact words for. It’s hard to achieve such a feat in such a saturated market of music, which leaves me to think that Jack Van Cleaf will leave an indelible mark on the songwriting world.