Mike Doughty - Sad Man Happy Man CD
When Mike Doughty released his second official solo album, 2008's GoldenDelicious, the reaction from fans was intense. "Some hated it, someloved it better than Soul Coughing," Doughty says. "I tend to takesharp left turns. Every time I put out a record, the audience seems to like whatI did two years ago better. You'd think I could shrug it off because that's whatalways happens, but it always gets to me."
Doughty admits that his upcoming album, Sad Man Happy Man is a reactionto his fans' reaction and that he's giving the people what they want. "Ireally went for the "na-na-na's" and the simple choruses and stuff on Golden...,"he says. "The songs on Sad Man... are more arcane and convolutedsongwriting-wise, though they're sparer in terms of instrumentation. Although mychoruses are still simple - I love taking phrases and repeating them adinfinitum."
The largely acoustic Sad Man Happy Man is a deliberate return toeverything people love about Mike Doughty, he makes albums that simmer withverbal wit, and Sad Man Happy Man is no exception with its songs abouteverything from relationship bust-ups (Doughty was going through one while hewas recording it) to his astute observations about the American economy.
"Pleasure on Credit" is a celebratory tale of the American spender inthe face of the U.S.'s credit addiction crushing the world's markets; "LordLord" is all sly drug references, like "Tango and Cash" and"Dr. Nova," which are both brand-names for bags of heroin. "Thatsong is kind of like my 'Walk on the Wild Side,'" Doughty says. "Ilike how Reed's tune is all about tranny whores and yet is all over classic rockradio."
Doughty wrote "Rising Up" after his girlfriend sent him a terse emailand, with his heart thumping, wrote five pages trying to exorcise his anxiety."It's my Gloria Gaynor moment," he says with a laugh. "Themessage of the tune is: 'You're fucked, but it doesn't matter. I'll keep on withmy spiritual journey.' Yes, I really am that much of a hippie."
Musically, Sad Man Happy Man finds Doughty returning to his acousticroots thanks to its stripped-down arrangements that feature Doughty backinghimself on guitar. He also did all the drum programming, as well as playedkeyboards and what he calls the "weird noise stuff," while hislong-time touring partner Andrew 'Scrap' Livingston handles bass duties.Recorded at New York's Kampo Studios, the album was co-produced by Doughty andengineer Pat Dillett (They Might Be Giants, David Byrne), with the exception ofalbum's first single "Doubly Gratified," which was produced by DavidKahne, who helmed Soul Coughing's 1996 album Irresistible Bliss, aswell as albums by Paul McCartney, Sugar Ray, and Tony Bennett.
"Basically I'm trying to make stuff I want to listen to," he says ofthe album. "And I mean that in a literal sense, not like, 'Were I alistener, I would like this,' but rather something I can listen to on the subwayon headphones and really dig. This is my life, this is what I do. That soundsmatter-of-fact, but I really do look at it as a sort of calling - and being anartist at its best is selfless. I'm working for the language, I'm working forthe music, I'm working for the songs. I'm a happier guy when I'm conscious ofthat."
Release date 10.6.09