The Best My Favouritest Daniel Johnston Song
Ah my god! Oh it’s so good!
a) The guitar playing (and recording) is SO SHIT. He messes up the chords he loses the rhythm he flubs the changes. But it’s so fucking punk in that old school sense of just DO it. Who cares! DO IT. It’s in you. Out it.
b) He means it so much. It feels (maybe isn’t ) (probably is) (but might be not) a first draft but it FEELS so much like one. So many lyrics are totally silly and totally genius, are the kind of thing you write when you don’t quite know how you’re going to end, forget whole song, even just end the very next thought. But it’s so rooted in an emotion, a feeling, a particular wise toward the world.
c) The feeling, the wise. It’s not about him. Or it kind of is, as it falls out, but no it’s REALLY about someone else, the core message is an empathetic seeing the world from someone else’s place and sharing your themseeing back with them. Which is the only reason we should talk, ever, no I’m not serious, but it’s such a good pure motivation to artcreate. It’s sharing, it’s pure sharing! he cares. He gives a shit. About someone, a real person, a friend, a beloved, and he’s letting them know, and that’s all he’s saying.
d) That’s not all he’s saying, as it falls out he’s in there too! Not meaning to be, just because fact is he is a person he can’t but express who that person is. And the falling there, oh it’s so sad! So tragic! “Go” i.e., “leave me, on my own, wanting something having nothing”. But it’s not resentful or self-involved, that Daniel-being part of the song. He’s not MAKING it about him. And anyway more than good things for himself he is wanting good things for his friend. What a dude! What a champion! That’s the noblest gesture, it gets me everytime, “Yes I am suffering but we must look out for the others” Ah!
e) “Anyway here we all are on this planet | Taking everythin for gran’ed” I can’t transcribe the glottal stop in “granted” right but it MAKES that line. So innocent, ignorant, simple, non-preachy, not acting like he KNOWS, but and at the same time so so full so bursting full with truth and with experience knowing.
f) He can’t sing. He can’t fucking sing! What a dope why did he ever think he could be a musician? Why did he ever actually press record on this tape machine? Why did he ever draw the label for the cassette for he sent to the radio station? What a chump! What a dork. What a loser. Oh but it’s the best thing I’ve ever heard, it’s like nothing else ever it is the finest, the cool guitar rhythm (when he gets it), the melody, the tempo, it’s a fucking excellent song that is only transcendent for being distanced from my heart by his shittiness, by the palpable microphone limits, by the voice, by the clumsiness, by the lyrics that don’t make sense (if the cherries are in a bowl you don’t need to carry “many”, just take the bowl! Daniel!), by the absence of knowing who actually he’s singing to, what really it means really. He is a loser I’m a loser he’s so much greater ah I can’t I love him.
g) How many songs/stories/arts are about already having what you wanted? Are about being home? Are about unlost itfoundhaving? Are about HAPPINESS, really? Really? And shouldn’t they all be? What, c’mon let’s be honest, is the value of knowing your brokenness? Of recognising the pain of in you in others in the world? Once you’ve seen it, do you need another “Well it’s an ugly melody because the WORLD is ugly maaaaan” And we’ve all seen it, haven’t we? And isn’t it so much righter to say “You were never lost, for all that you were”? And find a way to say that true?