It’s just the best title to an album in the world.
Or at least you realise it is, only after you have listened to the album repeatedly. Effectively it perfectly sums of the absurdities of ‘suffering’ the safety of long term love, awaiting it’s disintergration and the inevitable, preposterous anguish at eventually being set free from it’s shackles.
Although Walter Etc. does so with a humour that has always been able to pick at the scab of the silliness of human emotion / existence, the gradual disintegration of his relationship is still just as poignant and adorned with a lyrical dexterity most could only wish to begin to, one day, maybe, aspire to.
In this real life musical soap, the reasons for the failure of the relationship are laid out without blame, rather just the resignation of two people who have grown apart. A track such as Burritos Alone showcases the fundamental differences between his fears of a stagnating life and her more traditional safely dynamic one:
She eats kale with her co-workers and laughs at their jokes
I go to lunch too, but I’m eating burritos alone
Eating burritos alone
The possible recession of his life and the couples disparation is also brilliantly accentuated in the brilliant fish analogy seen in Fish Won’t Eat:
Please pray for me, my fish won’t eat
she lays on the bottom and just stares at me
I’m less afraid that she will die
than be a representation of my life.
These differences are given relatable context by highlighting why some couple stay in ailing relationships simply because of the nostalgia of how things were in the past and taking comfort in the safety of believing such a feel will somehow be retrieved with further time. However the lyrics of a track like the superlative White Lies (see below) simply oozes the absurdity and futility of such lazy effort.
Telling white lies so we can make it to the morning
Telling white lies until the conflict is avoided
Telling white lies to myself can usually cheer me up
or at least knock some sense in me
Telling white lies to the one you love can keep that love alive
Cause everyone you love will let you down
Walter Etc. could easily have left the story as ‘I used to love, I still do, but lets face we are only together because it’s safe’ and walked away from this album. We may have wondered if the relationship survived, but probably knew it hadn’t.
However, this artist needs to finish the story. Not in the sense that he concludes / ends the relationship (as he does in the erudite I Bought You A Blanket in Mexico – see below) but more ‘Walter Etc pertinently’, from the context of the strange despair that many of us have still felt even though we know a relationship has been dead for some time, in all but actuality.
Punk with an Ex suggest the absurdity of his devastation
Caught me in La Tapatia reading Treasure Island
It hasn’t sunken in yet, but when it does, it will be violent.
But if Jim Hawkins and loyalists can fight off mutineers
Maybe I can get over this in the next 6 or 7 years
Such ‘surprising’ turmoil should not really occur at the end of a ‘dead relationship’ but most of us can still relate with the sense of hearbreak seen in No More Visitors, which concludes the album’s trip around love and all it’s absurd, but very authentic madness.
Please, no more visitors for a while
I’m peopled out and broke as hell
and need my beauty sleep
I keep having visions of her ghost on the sofa
Certain acts can ‘get away’ with just being this sort of wonderful lyricist / storyteller. However, this Californian does not settle for that. His music is the sort that accentuates every line with many of the tracks providing the sub melodies and general prettiness that hints at all things love, before ripping off that particular band aid by adding some sort of musical distortion, such as crunching guitars or fuzzed up noise, to deliberately shatter any illusion that love is all flowers and hearts.
It’s a typical Walter Etc trick…typically brilliant.