You are all like, “These Music Moments with talented ladies are really great, E, but surely you do not only listen to female artists — when are you going to highlight a dude?” and I am all like, “Right now!”
Oh, my god, you guys: Mason Jennings. Mason Jennings. Sooo cool. Mason sang two Bob Dylan songs in the 2007 Bob Dylan biopic I’m Not There, “The Times They Are A-Changin'” and “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll.” He’s a big guy for cleaning the ocean, integrating conventions of pop writing with stripped-down folk and acoustic songs, inventing rustic characters as the voices for his music, and looking mighty, mighty fine doing all that.
“I wrote about how hard it is to be 34 and be a parent and sane and married and true and positive and yourself and a man and funny and a decent person and a not decent person and human and in love. I turned the music up so loud so often that my ears rang every night. I wrote about death, of course. I wrote about life. I wrote about pain and addiction. And I let it flow and left it raw. I worked fast and I let my heart lead.” –Mason Jennings, “Bio,” Official Website.
This is the title track from the album whose composition he’s describing in that quote, Blood of Man (available as of September 15, 2009, he advocates that you purchase it from iTunes, so I’d encourage you to go that route).
Blood of Man
Babies in jars, luxury cars
Seasons that don’t come true
Happiness waits outside the gates
Watching each thing we do
Ocean mother, ocean child,
Are you mine, or are you wild?
Are you calling for the blood of man?
And with the world comes misery
Comes jealousy and pain
And with new friends come enemies
The fortune brings the fame
And oh my dear confidant
(tell me how to feel)
Tell me how to feel
(tell me how you’ve been)
I’ve been overwhelmed
(overwhelmed by what)
By what lies up ahead
I love the lyrics to this song, they make me think of some of my dearest friendohs who, by putting my trust in them, teach me to put my trust in others, too.
I realized these Music Moment posts tend to run really long because I like music way too much, and can’t bear to only give you half the story on someone I think is really special, so click here to keep reading about Mason Jennings (and see more of his hotness!).
But not all of his songs are as serious and soul-searching as “Blood of Man” or instructive as “Confidant.” Check out this really super-fun track, “Bullet,” from the 2002 album Century Spring, which takes a very serious topic, infidelity, and manages to make a playful deconstruction of the back and forth rhythm of relationship games.
This is a bullet from a gun called “what the fuck?”
If I was standing in your shoes, I’d throw my hands straight up
And start explaining at the speed of light, not sound,
How the words “get some coffee” came to mean “get down”
Finally, Mason Jennings is one of my favorite types of people in that he has an interest in a wide variety of religions and philosophies as a way of understanding himself and how to reach harmony in the world. This little ditty is addressed to the erstwhile monotheistic god of Judaeo-Christianity. It essentially brings home the point that there is nothing wrong with a little peace, love, and understanding, no matter what form it takes.
“I guess I have come to the point in my life and my art where I just want to make music that I love and not mess with it. If people dig it: cool. If not: cool. I will be making it anyway. I have to.” –Mason Jennings, “Bio,” Official Website.
Love it. Let me know if those little mp3 player dealies don’t work, I worked my ass off on them and I feel like it’s me and them to the mortuary at this point, so if they’re trying to eff up, I want to hear about it.