BlindedBySound Music Television: Joe Pernice - "Prince Valium"

Talking to you or talking to myself?
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Ahhh, yes, welcome to our daily edition of BlindedBySound Music Television. Today's selection is a favorite of many years and I was surprised to find a version we could watch together.

The world sucks just a little more because not enough of you know about the songwriting prowess of Joe Pernice. He has a song called "Theme To An Endless Bummer" that sums up a portion of my life I like to call the last 37 years- well, the title does. Speaking of titles, those of us old enough to remember reading the comics in the Sunday paper ought to get a chuckle out of "Prince Valium," a knowing nod to "Prince Valiant" (one of the strips I routinely skipped as a child).

What makes it so brilliant? Not every song I love has a line or sentiment that applies specifically to my life- many of them don't. Some of the best songs are the ones that take you out of yourself and put you in a world far from your own. The ones that often mean the most are those that say what you wish you could say – or could have said – but never would have come up with on your own. Sometimes they are coded messages to someone specific and they knew who they are. Other times only you know the significance. In either case, the melody and lyrics paint the picture of a place in your head, heart, spirit, and soul. They make the best of feelings more joyous, they give shape to the confusion, and they bring comfort to the hurt.

What's this song about? It's self-explanatory, right? Or maybe it isn't. That's the beauty because that's not the point. I'm sure Pernice knows its origins but even he may not know what it's about. Some songwriters maintain a distance from what they write while others are looking for melodies for their autobiography. I know what the song means to me and I can tell you right now it's meant different things at different times. Am I posting this in the present tense or is this a blast from the past? Doesn't matter. Give it a listen and let it mean what it means for you.

"Prince Valium" is from Joe's Big Tobacco album and you really should hear the studio version (and the rest of the fucking record) but this solo acoustic album tells you everything you need know. Or does it? Am I talking to someone or to myself? That's the magic. It doesn't matter, particularly because this song is a whole lot bigger than whatever corner of my mind I keep this in.