When I originally heard “The Snake King” last week it was through the Soundcloud premiere by Billboard. Then I listened to some songs individually on Alexa, streaming from Amazon in my kitchen – purposely passing on the real depressing ones since my kids were nearby. Last night I picked up the actual CD from Best Buy and today played it while I was getting some work done. For today’s listen, I wasn’t trying to analyze the lyrics but just listening as a casual listener. The verdict? It is SO FREAKING INCREDIBLE!
It really is. The songs are so catchy and the music has so many layers. When I was a kid, my parents had the the “Jesus Christ Superstar” record and I used to dance around singing it in the living room. Since our family is Jewish, I always thought it was a little weird that my parents even had that record, but the music was so good and fun to sing. This kind of reminds me of that, a bluesy version. It’s telling a story and the topics aren’t something I would normally choose to listen to, but the songs are amazing.
“Suicide Manifesto” is still just as depressing though, because once you know that that was how RS was thinking last year, it’s hard to move past that. But if “The Snake King” were to be made into a rock opera, there could be a character representing a human on Earth who is affected by the work of “The Snake King” and that could be that character’s song. I’m not sure yet what the overall story would be, but I think there may be something there.
Anyway, right after the last song listed on the CD “Orpheus in the Underworld,” there’s another song that’s not listed: “Goodbye, St. Paul.” The song is listed on the Japanese import CD, but apparently it’s a hidden track on the U.S. version.
It’s also cool to see all the different instruments listed in the CD booklet that were used in the songs: electric and electric slide guitars, acoustic guitar, harmonica, electric piano, synth horns, bouzouki, violin, viola, Dobro, mandolin, banjo and ukulele. In addition to his touring band, there are familiar names listed, such as Jeff Silverman and Tim Pierce (both who he used to perform with) and Jimmy Z (who played sax on “Bop ‘Til You Drop.”) Were the typos on the “Suicide Manifesto” credits intentional? A kind of “I don’t care” message for that song or is a typo just a typo?
There’s also a picture of him and his mom and their dog (Elvis?) in the CD booklet and a little tribute to her.