Each week, former KDHX DJ Chris Ward examines a song from his quarantine-based playlist dealing with isolation, loneliness, hope and germs. This song and more can be found on his Spotify playlist: spoti.fi/2WZGTJZ Have you ever noticed, when you're feeling really good, there's always a pigeon, that'll come shit on your hood."
John Prine is one of several heroes I added to my pandemic mixtape when they were first hospitalized. I, like the rest of the world, lost part of the light in my soul when he didn't make it out. But like Warren Zevon, like Randy Newman, like David Bazan — like all of my favorite artists on the Mt. Rushmore of darkly comic songwriters about the human condition — Prine usually sang the sad truth with a spoonful of sugar. But, written in the George W. "There will never be a criminal president this bad again!" Bush era, this song does all that with an extra dose of gravelly world weariness that's hard to believe the singing mailman was able to deliver back to us for twenty more progressively darker years after its release. And few of his political songs are as explicitly name-droppingly political as this one. ("Some cowboy from Texas starts his own war in Iraq" is your concert "WOO HOO!!" applause line delivered on a tray.)
"Some humans ain't human, some people ain't kind," he begins. Hang that in every reopened diner in the Midwest, as a reminder. "You open up their hearts, and here's what you'll find: a few frozen pizzas, some ice cubes with hair, a broken Popsicle ... you don't want to go there." A perfectly Grinch-ian description of Republicans if I've ever heard it, if not an unfair assessment of frozen pizzas. Some little pink spoons from a forced-open Baskin Robbins, perhaps. "Jealousy and stupidity don't equal harmony," he concludes.
In this, the stupidest time to be alive, it really is getting harder and harder to think of some people as human at all ... or just as the sad, sentient comments-section MAGA parade of puppet-stringed dipshittery they reveal themselves to be daily. If those humans are still considered part of the club, I no longer want to be a member.