To answer your first question, yes, you found a really good and interesting way to put the lyrics on top with the first listen.
More to the point, you wrote an outstanding song. Don’t over-think the reaction to a song that is rock solid like this one. The essence of a great song is so fundamental, so foundational, that it can be built up using virtually any genre successfully. This song could be covered as a country song, a blues song, a reggae song and a pop song — they all would work.
Because of your goal about getting the lyrics out front, you had to craft a song that stood on its own with only the barest delivery — the singer with their acoustic guitar.
Maybe you were not conscious of this, but you came full circle to the early blues singer/songwriters who wrote depressing lyrics within the framework of a story that any listener could imagine themselves in the middle of.
I can understand why it seems ironic from inside your own head but from the outside, trust me, its very simple — the song is awesome.
One separate note: you wrote; “I was familiar with the human brain’s tendency to recognize rhythm and texture before lyric.” I think you should substitute “musician’s brain’s” for “human brain’s” and carefully think about songs like The Beatle’s “I Want to Hold Your Hand” where the lyrics ARE the hook. You may be letting too many producers with natural born musical talent who think about dance clubs as the place where people discover music get too deep inside your head.