Tag Archives: Partisan

New John Grant: Boy from Michigan

Video: John Grant – “Boy from Michigan”

John Grant - Boy from Michigan

Directed by Casey & Ewan. From Boy From Michigan, due June 25 on Bella Union and Partisan.

As a boy from Michigan myself, John Grant’s latest single rings true. Coincidentally, I have recently started watching “Freaks and Geeks” for the first time, which is set in a Michigan high school in 1980. I went to high school in the 1980s and the show is spot on. My only issue so far is with Kim Kelly’s parents. Is it ever explained where they are supposed to be from? Because they do not talk like they’re from Michigan. The mom says calls it “soda” for one thing. And what’s up with that accent? Is that the “generic poor people” Hollywood accent? Real poor people in Michigan sound more like they’re from Arkansas than south Boston or the Bronx or whatever that is. One more thing: “Up in Benton Harbor”?!? If this takes place outside of Detroit, what suburb would that be: Indiana? Come on.

But if you’ve seen “Freaks and Geeks,” that’s the setting for John Grant’s “Boy from Michigan.”

We walk through the cemetery looking at all the graves
To Thompsons’s Market for candy and pop
We did it almost every day
We used to look to see if we could find a patch of green
As the winter came to a close
And spring was blossoming
The ground was coming alive and it smelled so clean.

The ground smells like that outside right now.

Grant says, “The song sprang from a moment I experienced when I was about 11 and we were about to move to Colorado from Michigan; my best buddy took me aside and warned me about ‘the world out there’ – so the song is about the transition from childhood to adulthood, the simplicity and innocence of childhood and the oftentimes rude awakening that occurs when one crosses over into adulthood. It’s also about romanticizing the past, which can be dangerous.”

It can be dangerous. That’s true. It can also be annoying and obnoxious. But this song isn’t any of those things. It’s good.

New Craig Finn video: God in Chicago

Video: Craig Finn – “God In Chicago”

Craig Finn - God In Chicago (Official Video)

From We All Want The Same Things, out March 24 on Partisan Records.

The thing with spoken word pieces is that you have to sit still and pay attention, and while that can be tough to carve out time for, “God In Chicago” makes it worth your while. “Her mom found her brother, then she found a container wrapped up in a newspaper stuffed in a duffle bag with hockey pads and seven grand in rubber bands.” As far as opening sentences go, that’s a pretty great start to a story. You might be able to guess where it goes from there: she calls the narrator and they drive to Chicago to sell the contents of the container and have a night on the town.

Craig Finn says, “It’s a story about a guy and a girl pushed together to try to fix a problem. In doing so, they push into unchartered territory for both of them. Going to a bigger city without supervision for the first time is a huge moment, no matter how you get there. I was trying to capture that. Also, I wanted to show how easy it is sometimes to take a break, if briefly, from our regular lives.”

I remember being a teenager and driving to the city for the first time. We didn’t have to sell any drugs, thank goodness, but my homie and I got loaded and ate Harold’s chicken with our shirts off in somebody’s University of Chicago dorm room. We listened to Spacemen 3 and Starship Beer and went to a silly hat party. He wore a fez. Good times.

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