A thoroughly autumnal release if there ever was one, Pete Mancini’s “Pine Box Derby,” an ode to childhood splendors and micro-victories in the face of adulthood desperation is a highly contemplative and relatable bit of Americana released during a season where memories get stirred up and the idea of going home ranges in its feasibility. To that end, Mancini beautifully encapsulates the feeling one may have about time’s warped perception of happiness, as well as the equitable path in which one may forward.
Though the subject of the song quite literally concerns itself with pine box derby cars, Mancini’s single is nonetheless the lamentation of simper days. Folksy in lyrical phrasing and featuring spare yet powerful guitarwork, the track conveys an inherent sorrow within it. Much like a walk down the street where you grew up as the foliage changes and wilts with the waning sunlight, one may begin to yearn for simpler times. The addition of the gentle keys on the track exemplify a thread of hopefulness, however – Mancini’s life and general outlook is nonetheless accompanied by a devout perseverance astride the melancholia altogether.
The simple, retro, yet visible imagery that the title conveys represents an American culture that has come to pass, but one that many parts of the country seem to be yearning for yet again. Tactile, just like Mancini’s loneliness and separation from the straightforward nature of the pine box, the item at hand ends up carrying more than one connotation for the singer-songwriter. Without putting too fine a point on his presumed current afflictions, Mancini can work towards feeling better without entirely abandoning the irrevocably excellent feeling of youth.