Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
Bobby Conn makes us believe that we're all barking up the wrong tree. We are striving for the very things that we don't need. We are trying ourselves silly, exhausted and silly, to climb certain mountains that, when we reach the tops of them - instead of finding BMWs, mansions, spectacular views and sacks full of green - all we're going to find when we get there is an echo and a big pile of mountain goat turds. We're going to bellow from the bottoms of our guts the disappointment we feel at that moment, when we realize that it was all a loss, that we wasted all of our time searching for a fantasy and a fantasy is a fantasy for a reason. Conn, the glamorous showman, makes us think that everyone's got a skewed way of looking at priorities and that we're going to be very discouraged if we keep it up. He's sarcastic and an odd cookie, but there's a lot of serious thought put into the tossing off of the stern tasking and commitment that others put into cracking the code to the secret of life, of which there isn't one. Or, the secret of life has been so distorted that it resembles nothing we'd ever actually look for. It's been painted over countless times, living four layers down with the lead-based paint that we've all tried to get rid of. There's a suggestion of greed getting in the way of everything, the need to take and take and take and grab as if it's the most natural activity - one that we can't control, so we don't. It's our gremlin and it's always midnight. Conn has always taken a light-hearted stab at societal woes and hang-ups, bloating them into super-sized caricatures of what they might actually be - but nonetheless real tokens of our warped souls and minds. We can't argue ourselves out of the discussion or the accusation of being caught up in material possessing and hoarding, needing more and more of everything that will just be sold off at an estate sale a few weeks after we kick the pail. Conn sings on "More Than We Need," "Don't break your mind/Don't break your heart on what you believe/Don't wait/Don't waste your life/On what you can't see/Don't take more than you need/I know that you've been waiting for somebody to believe in/I hate to let you know there's no one/I know that you've been waiting your whole life for the deceiver/I hate to let you know it's over/I know that you've been waiting your whole life to hear the answer/Oh I hate to let you know/It's easy/And now you've got the answer to live your life/The rest is simple/But now we've got to go/It's over." It all just drives us to where we get let out, where the life-sustaining tubes are pulled out of our body, the machines are turned out, our lungs exhale for the final time and the curtains fall. We're left with a dramatic pause and a light goodbye, sad as can be.
Thrill Jockey Records