Oldie of the Week: ‘Almost Cut My Hair’ – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (1970)

When you think of the songs that move you the most, what springs to mind? Songs of infatuation, unrequited love, and mortality tend to flood our cultural consciousness. It might seem odd, then, that somehow, effortlessly, ‘Almost Cut My Hair’ makes my list. Superficially, it’s exactly what it sounds like: One long splurge about the trials and tribulations of potentially getting a haircut. It’s so juvenile that you find yourself wondering whether Dave Crosby’s mum still buys his underwear.
However, an amazing dissonance opens up between that surface triviality, and the wistful wailing of many-layered guitars, that dialogue spectacularly alongside it, stepping out of the shadow of the lyrics and creating their own sunlight. They sing a different song, and force you to reconsider those silly, silly words. You realise that hair isn’t hair, it’s freedom – The ability to let yourself go, and express yourself in the best, most natural way. So, here’s my parting advice to you all, as the term ends: Go ahead and ‘let your freak flag fly’, whatever that might mean to you:
“Almost cut my hair
It happened just the other day
It’s getting kinda long
I could have said it was in my way.
But I didn’t and I wonder why,
I feel like letting my freak flag fly”