Ah if only all songs were as immediately interesting and engaging as “Don’t Come to Me.” This blog would write itself.
First we have the odd, sparse, toy-piano like pre-introduction, which folds itself underneath a descending guitar melody with a deceptively involved cadence—which, in turn, folds itself into a flowing yet syncopated arrangement with a vaguely islandy ambiance. The lyrics, starting up, have an affable, run-on quality even as they resist any kind of spilling-out feeling. All in all a measured jauntiness is in the air, and that’s what really delights me. Here is a song that bops with a spry bounce (it’s great to desk-dance to; try it!), yet with an abiding sense of control. I am deciding on the spot that composure is way underrated in the general realm of rock’n’roll. You can have most of those guttural screams and overheated guitar solos and such; me, I’m enchanted by restraint and discipline. And so naturally enough we end up here with a most disciplined and easy-going guitar solo (1:35) and a climax featuring nothing more or less than a serious of truly interesting chord changes (1:55). All this in service of a song with a chorus anchored by the lyric “Don’t come to me with your bullshit excuses.” I mean, isn’t control in this context deeper and more interesting than wild-ass bedlam? Maybe?
Nick Jaina is a Portland, Ore.-based musician, composer, and essayist. He has composed music for ballet, theater, and film. “Don’t Come to Me” is a song from his new album, Primary Reception, which will be released later this month on Fluff & Gravy Records, a record label and recording studio also based in Portland. It is his eighth album, not counting a release featuring music he wrote for the play Girl Who Drew Horses; all are available via Bandcamp, including an album of interesting covers he recorded that is available in its entirety for free. Another good song from the new album, “Strawberry Man,” is available as a free download from his web site. Jaina was previously featured on Fingertips in 2008