Warren Zevon Sings “My Shit’s Fucked Up”

Warren_Zevon_-_Life'll_Kill_YaListen to this track by one-time werewolf spotter and L.A based singer-songwriter Warren Zevon. It’s “My Shit’s Fucked Up”, a straight to the point track as taken from his 2000 album, the also straight-forwardly titled Life’ll Kill Ya.  The song is one of many that takes on the themes of age, illness, and working things out in the midst of all of that.

Perhaps those themes had particular significance for Zevon, who  would come face to face with some intimidating odds healthwise not too long after this record was released. Given its title, it’s almost like he expected it to be his last, even if 2003’s The Wind would cover that nicely, and manages to be pretty poignant rather than bitter. But, that was just the thing with Zevon, who can be counted in a school of L.A based songwriters springing from Randy Newman and later to E from Eels that deals in gallows humour, irony, self-deprecation, and a sort of rumpled vulnerability. Bitterness and anger were not to be separated from the poignancy or the chuckles to be had from this approach to songwriting.

Even if this song does get pretty in your face about the dark side of what it’s like to get older, when you really break it down, it’s this very connection between humour and fear that makes this song work so well. And I think it provides some pretty valuable perspective on something that popular music has always dealt with to varying degrees of success; mortality. Read more

Warren Zevon Sings “Werewolves of London”

Warren Zevon Werewolves of LondonListen to this track by singer-songwriter-satirist with a jaundiced eye Warren Zevon. It’s “Werewolves of London”, his biggest hit off of his best-selling record to date, Excitable Boy from 1978.  The song was written with sought-after session guitarist Waddy Wachtel, with the record (and the rest of the album) produced by fellow singer-songwriter Jackson Browne.

Like Browne, Zevon was on the scene in Los Angeles by the 1970s, moving in some of the same circles. But, unlike Browne, Zevon’s impact on the mainstream charts was not quite as ubiquitous, that is until this song helped him to move up in stature with a top 40 hit. But, despite having a hit, the song still reflects Zevon’s approach, that being slightly bent and left of center, with a broad streak of dark humour.  His work has a satirical edge, certainly on display on songs like “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner” and “Lawyers, Guns and Money”, also appearing on this same record.

So, what about this song which evokes the classic 1941 The Wolf Man, starring Lon Chaney, Jr. (actually namechecked in this song!) while also being something of a comment on characters that are perhaps more contemporary?  Read more