With his throwaway stage name and kick-ass growl, Tucson-born, Seattle-based Eddie Spaghetti is not quite the rock’n’roller you’d expect to be writing a song based on an Oscar Wilde quotation he had just read (“What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.”) But I surely will not discourage serendipitous cultural intermingling; that’s kind of all I do here week after week.
Spaghetti reports that he read the quote while in Australia, knew it was a song, then wrote the thing back in his hotel room in about 20 minutes. “The Value of Nothing” glows with the energy of something unfussed over—uncomplicated on the one hand, highlighted on the other by the supplemental, unaffected touches that can happen when a creator isn’t over-thinking things. The song launches off a lonesome-prairie vibe produced by adding harmonica flourishes to a prog-rock-y electric guitar; after this, the ramshackle vigor is generated largely by a hoedown style acoustic guitar and dry, snare-filled drumming. (I like the little yelp that gets things going at 0:50.) Accentuating the itchy drive are lyrics sung largely in between the beats. But check out the chorus, and how he empowers offhanded phrases by now re-aligning with the beat:
You know the price of everything, don’t you honey
But it ain’t about, it ain’t about the money
I find something slippery attractive in the rhyming of the tossed-off half of these lines. One more sneaky-good thing here is how the electric guitar insinuates itself back into the song, culminating in a snaky solo (2:08) that feels like we’ve wandered into a trippy Outlaws song.
Spaghetti was born Edward Carlyle Daly III, and has been known previously as front man for the cowpunky garage rock band the Supersuckers. “The Value of Nothing” is the title track of his fourth solo album, but first album featuring all original songs. The new album is coming in mid-June on Bloodshot Records. You can download the song via the link above or over at SoundCloud. Thanks to Largehearted Boy for the head’s up.