AUK’s Chain Gang: Will Oldham “Big Balls”

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Last week it was Malvina Reynolds and her ‘Little Boxes’. This week it is something opposite – Will Oldham and his ‘Big Balls’. Now, Oldham is one true musical chameleon, from the changing personalities he records and performs under (five or six so far), to music styles he covers (from ‘standard’ americana to psych-rock and electronica). Yet, there’s one consistency in all his personality and music guises – he never minces his words or misses conveying the meaning he places in his lyrics. And yes, in the case of this song from ‘Guarapero: Lost Blues 2’ it is exactly ‘those’ balls he has in mind:

“Balls they come up happy / When I place them in your hand / And I will acknowledge with a cocking of my head / When the faces rise against us / ’cause we’re moderate or meek / They’ll see we’ve got the only balls of them all” 

So start the lyrics, and Oldham makes clear that he explains himself as he goes on further, well, maybe he leaves a bit of decoding to the listener, not too much, though. In all his guises Oldham often likes to go with lo-fi recording, this time around, it even sounds that he recorded the song with him in his bedroom (probably lying on the bed) and the microphone placed haphazardly, possibly in the joining bathroom.  The tune has that staple languid Oldham style and those always recognizable vocals, this time so muffled that the listener is made to pay attention to what Oldham is singing about. Of course, no mincing of words this time around, too.

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