Brendan Benson: “Metarie”
I don’t especially like discovering artists through hearing their music in a TV commercial. I guess it’s a pride thing: something to do with a corporate entity finding good music before I did — there’s just something antithetical about that for someone who enjoys the hunt for new music. But on the occasions that it has happened, I have to admit they chose well. This was most certainly the case when I first heard Brendan Benson’s “Tiny Spark” on a VW (edit: turns out it was actually Saturn) commercial in 2002.
That song led me to Benson’s fantastic album from that year, Lapalco, filled with other similarly excellent tracks, including this one, “Metarie.” Starting with him singing along with a lone lo-fi acoustic guitar, the song slowly builds to a powerful peak, while never quite losing its bedroom-recording feel. The lyrics are funny/sad/self-deprecating, a running commentary from the point of view of the singer, who falls for a woman who doesn’t exactly see him in the same light, triggering an epic bout of self-pity. Haven’t we all been there at some point? Yes or no, the song leaves an impression.
Side note: Although Benson is perhaps now better known as co-leader of The Raconteurs (along with Jack White), his solo work stands on equal footing. Don’t necessarily assume that White is the biggest talent in that group.
(No YouTube video this time…I couldn’t locate one for the Lapalco version. So I’m going with a Grooveshark widget.)