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“Sad Sack [Album Version]” Playlist

“Sad Sack” is the third song in what I sometimes refer to as the “Detroit Airport Trilogy.” I wrote this song (along with “Three Rings” and “Happy to Be Your Whore”) while stuck in the Detroit airport — the OLD terminal — for a very long day. These three songs served as the springboard from which the entire MEMOIRS album developed (even though five songs were pulled from my back catalogue to fill the album), with both “Anchors Aweigh” and “Delilah” emerging within a few days of that same trip.

The song is a narrative of a ne’er-do-well who tries his best but fails miserably and is subsequently rebuked by his love, which drives our protagonist to drink (only further dividing him from his love). The song definitely had strong similarities to some favourites by Tom Waits and Rickie Lee Jones, who both make several appearances in the playlist (“Step Right Up,” “Tempation,” and “Jockey full of Bourbon” from the former, and “We Belong Together,” “Living it Up,” and “Satellites” from the latter). Because there was a sort of big band orchestra/salsa thing going on in the arrangement of the album version of the song, I chose some songs that also revealed similar influences: “Ain’t No Other Man” by Christina Aguilera, “It’s Oh So Quiet” by Björk, “Fired” by Ben Folds, “I’m Beggin’ You” by Supertramp (as well as their “Goodbye Stranger”), “You Can Leave Your Hat On” by Joe Cocker, and “All at Sea” by Jamie Cullum (whose cover of Radiohead’s “High and Dry” is also featured). Naturally, there’s also some Billy Joel, Keane, and Marc Cohn: “Rosalinda’s Eyes,” “Everybody’s Changing,” and “Miles Away” respectively. There’s also the seemingly incongruous “Fascination” by The Human League, which segues surprisingly well in the middle of all of these songs.

And, of course, here is the link to the Spotify playlist, which you can listen to for free!


While all the day laborers slept last night, the old guard came in to bust up the strike. Management said round up all the malcontents. Rout out the agitators and the like. And they called in scabs to finish putting mortar on the bricks and left us standing with no pot to piss in, holding our limp dicks. My name’s back on the unemployment roll. My free hand’s out, extended, waiting for the public dole.

So honey, do a little to make me feel better. Maybe something you could pour to make my dry throat wetter. A little liquid consolation to blur the ragged edges of my lonely desperation.

Don’t call me a sad sack. It’s just a minor setback. Don’t call me a sad sack. I just got a little off track.

I know you hate it when you see me this way, so I’ll walk it off around the block or maybe sit it out and have a good round at the bar. If you’re concerned I’ll leave my good cap here so you know I won’t go too very far. If what I’m saying isn’t honest, may lightning strike my pants on fire. I can stretch the truth like a depression dollar, but I’m not a liar. This time just please don’t lock the door. I’ll only pass out on the pavement instead of the kitchen floor (like I did before).

Darling, I feel a little too hollow. Fill my glass again. Oh, Hell. Give me a fifth that I can swallow to soft focus these harsh expressions, a tonic to ensure the whole world cures in this same recession that I’m fading into.

Don’t call me a sad sack. It’s just a minor setback. Don’t call me a sad sack. You know I just got a little off track. Don’t call me a setback or tell me, “Don’t you dare to come back!”

Because I’ll be back and I’ll be fine. Another day, another dime. Another vodka, twist of lime while I’m spinning my wheels and marking time.

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