The Wall Street Sweep With Which You Leave Your Feet
“Bullet” by Mason Jennings
Mason Jennings spends a lot of musical time working his way in and out of relationships.
“Keepin It Real,” for instance, finds him in at the beginning, and he’s got nothing to complain about. To hear a grown man use the colloquialism “keepin it real” often and not ironically in a folk song fits my definition of a guilty pleasure. There’s nothing profound about the lyrics, “Oh yes, my oh my, the earth shakes when we walk by” and “Saturday, Sunday, All the rest are fun days,” but why should there be? “Keepin It Real” is fun, uncomplicated, and a little too easy—everything that’s great about new love.
But this is the guy who sang, “I believe when you fall in love, you should jump right in.” With a heart as unguarded as Jennings’, you know the guy is going to get hurt. Enter “Bullet,” the song on the other end of a relationship timeline.
Bullet is full of caustic wit, right from the jarring first line: “This is a bullet from a gun called What the f***?” The folkster is livid, but he doesn’t let on by his still-friendly demeanor and sunny (“like a nursery rhyme”) chord progression. And between wacky metaphors, he inserts the straightforward line, “I’ve never been as lonely as when I was with you.”
In the chorus, he plays with this idea of a “funny” break-up song: “Oh yes, this song is a joke / Funny like a house blowing up in smoke / Funny like a bomb between my teeth when we kiss / You pull out the pin with your own sweet lips.” Lyrics that clever, I don’t even want to hear her side of the story.
Jennings is a man who offers his heart a little too eagerly and takes it back just as quick. Luckily, he’s good when he’s down. Since Jennings doesn’t disclose any details, the listener is left with a catchy piece of catharsis upon which to project their own frustrations. And give me back my black t-shirt.