Blitzen Trapper have shared ”Dead Billie Jean,” the third track from their new record, Holy Smokes Future Jokes, out September 11th.
Of the track, frontman Eric Earley states: “Pulling together Saunder’s Lincoln in the Bardo and MJ’s Billie Jean wherein the real Billie Jean has indeed killed herself as she promised Michael she would and now living in a state of rock and roll immortality kicks it in the Intermediate States with Jim Morrison, Brian Jones and Abraham Lincoln(?!) smoking mad dope, though she remains unaware of her death somehow as though her death ultimately was an awakening and reinvention.”
Led by existential questions about life and death, Holy Smokes Future Jokes finds Earley ruminating on the intermediate period between a person’s separate lives on earth, “and what it means to escape the cycle of birth and rebirth,” he explains.
Recorded at Long Play Recording in Portland, OR, Holy Smokes Future Jokes takes the listener on a wild and dramatic journey through the Bardo, that transitional state between death and rebirth. With an inherent otherworldliness in the lyrics and imagery, the album’s ten songs take inspiration from several works, notably George Saunders’ 2017 ‘Lincoln in the Bardo’, which led to ‘Bardo Thodol’, more commonly known as the ‘Tibetan Book of the Dead’.
“I became obsessed with it, “Earley notes. “All the ideas contained in that book were speaking to me in a lot of different ways. The main theme that kept drawing me in when I was writing was what I call ‘cosmic humility,’ he adds. “It’s the idea that humanity is not the center of the universe or even the center of our own universe here on earth. We’re not the most important thing.”
Produced and engineered by Raymond Richards, who also contributes upright bass/keys/pedal steel, Blitzen Trapper was joined in-studio by Michael Blake (keys), Luke Price (fiddle), Ben Latimer (saxophone), Heather Woods Broderick (backing vocals), and Haley Johnsen (backing vocals).
Holy Smokes Future Jokes tracklisting:
- Bardo’s Light (Ouija, Ouija)
- Don’t Let Me Run
- Magical Thinking
- Masonic Temple Microdose #1
- Holy Smokes Future Jokes
- Sons and Unwed Mothers
- Dead Billie Jean
- Hazy Morning