Art is a unique medium where people gain pleasure in the sadness of others. Be it fine from a brilliant spaniards blue period or the guitar backed anguish of Robert Johnson, people have paid well to revel in the tears and depression of those who are willing to share.
I found myself listening to new-to-me artist Hiss Golden Messenger and thought his ability to articulate pain (be it real or fictional) in an easy blues voice and simple guitar was something that my recent music shuffle was missing. With it, I returned to albums of yesteryear, and songs of another life getting lost along the Delta.
To me, the standout track from what I feel is his best album, Bad Debt, is “Super Blues (Two Days Clean).” He sings:
“Two days clean- I’m feeling mean so let’s go out tonight/Super blue crescent moon, gonna loose my mind/And I went down to Birmingham-Double shots that’s what I bought to forget who I am/Spent up all my money went into a trance- and I signed up for uncle Sam- and I got shot and I shot a lot, I guess that’s who I am/Hard to tell how the hell to get another chance.”
Despite what your worst friends tell you while recommending Katie Perry, people don’t just think it’s a good song and a good album simply because he sings about dark and sometimes obtuse subject matters. It’s a good song because he has a way of drawing you in and making you feel like you’re there with him on this story of self reflection and while you want no part of it, you can’t look away.
Hiss Golden Messenger is MC Taylor. MC Taylor is a college lecturer on folklore. So chances are that the stories he tells are not his. Does this make them inauthentic? And depending on your answer does that then make his music less appealing? I have my answers but what are yours?
For other good happy tunes check out “The Serpent is Kind (Compared to Man)” and “Jesus Shot Me In The Head”