Edition of 50 //
The first time I heard about Nathan Leigh (and this cassette) was because I watched a video for "Dad Rock (The Disappointment Song)" and as a dad I liked the idea that there was music out there for me but not in the typical way. This cassette begins with a song called... well, it has a long title so you can look it up... but the first song comes off in this acoustic/protest type of way and it does as the title says and calls out a lot of people. This first song also introduces us to the first theme of this cassette which is: "When you feel like giving up / That's when you can't give up" which you will also hear again later.
One of my favorite lines not only on the first song but this whole cassette is "If you think GG Allin is punk then we probably can't be friends" because somebody finally needed to say it. The second song, going back to that Dad Rock, gives us the idea of "All I want is a lot" which also comes back later (on "The Immortan Joe Memorial Highway"). I do enjoy how this cassette, lyrically, has repeating themes and you really have to pay attention to them so you can recognize when they return. I also like that a lot of the songs- such as "All Our Racist Uncles"- are about exactly what the titles make you think they are about.
For the fifth song, the horns come in and this makes me think of ska on some level. Throughout this cassette though I am reminded of: Fastball, Soul Asylum, Liars Academy, Less Than Jake, Local H, Springsteen. TMBG, Ben Folds and Streetlight Manifesto. This is full of acoustic rock energy. Is it folk punk? Maybe. Is it ska? Perhaps. But it's just the idea that these sounds combine to make this complex acoustic buffet of genres and that is both pleasing to the ear and creative to where when you hear the song enough times it eventually begins to be that song without comparison.
I've listened to this one more digitally than I have as a cassette. I've listened to it through earbuds via my phone while doing laundry and I've listened to it in my car while driving. One of my favorite songs to just turn up and sing along with is "Thank You America" ("Six hundred billion for the bankers") because it's just such a great anthem for 2020. These songs have lyrics which we need to talk about, lyrics which we need to explore and discuss and for that these lyrics are rather important. Couple that with a sound that isn't quite like anything I've heard before but somehow blends various aspects of Americana and this is a cassette they should be teaching in schools.