Why should the Devil have all the good music?

I recently saw the trailer for this documentary about artist and musician, Daniel Johnston.

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Here’s more about him from the official Devil and Daniel Johnston movie site.

This immediately found its way into my Netflix queue, much to the chagrin of my wife who didn’t appreciate the song I played her a few years ago titled, “King Kong.” It’s Johnston’s musical retelling of the entire story of King Kong with some added insights.

It’s on this album:

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If you scroll down you can hear a bit of the original and a Tom Waits cover.

When I first heard it I was blown away. I didn’t think someone could be signed to a major label and still put out songs this weird with horrible home-recording quality. But there was something mesmerizing about it which made me seek out more of his recordings. They’re pretty fantastic.

That prompted me to check for more videos on youtube. Here is a selection of songs about love, life and Satan.

I think he’s a crazy genius.

I’ll let you decide.

-W

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5 Comments

Filed under The Art World

5 responses to “Why should the Devil have all the good music?

  1. definitely rent the movie. it’s fascinating.

  2. Mike Goodwin

    I have to side with your significantly better half on this one. I ain’t feeling your boy.

  3. Beth

    What? You added this crap to our queue?

    That’s it. I’m adding Bring It On again.

  4. ok, the previous comment should be couched with the understanding that Beth’s last album purchase was DC Talk’s greatest hits.

    Aside from that, I can accept that a lot of people don’t dig it. I still think that while there are some really wierd tracks mixed in, a lot of them are outstanding lyrically, and despite the low-fy recording, I think his music is beautiful and interesting in its own right.

    -w

  5. Wayne, bro, I’m with ya on this one.
    I heard the song “devil town” years ago and thought, “wow, this is funny” but I didn’t really know his whole story. In fact, as I listened to more songs, I thought he might be faking strangeness (odd lyrics, odd voice), but the feeling behind every song was so intense and so persistent, I knew there was something to his music beyond marketing strategy.
    I bought the “Late, great…” album and loved it — its very rare that I like a bunch of cover songs or a tribute album, but this one allows johnston’s lyrics to be distilled and enjoyed through the voices of other singers.
    When I saw the movie, I was enlightened on how much influence he has had over the years, and saddened by the destruction and havoc his illness has caused. It was a deeply moving movie. It is hard to listen to his voice now without calling up his life story, and I don’t know if that is a good thing on a music-listening-enjoyment level. But, I will say, I found the documentary to be amazing and I’ve been recommending it as one of my favorite documentaries. yes, it’s in top 5.
    “don’t let the sun go down on your grievience” is probably my favorite song…for all of you out there who really wanted to know.

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