Daily Dose is your daily source for the song you absolutely, positively need to hear every day. Curated by the Paste Music Team.
Although Americana artist Jackie Greene has performed with Phil Lesh & Friends, was in the final lineup of The Black Crowes and played in a supergroup Trigger Hippy with Joan Osborne, his solo works haven’t quite reached that degree of name recognition, yet. For “Modern Lives,” the first single of his forthcoming EP, The Modern Lives- Vol 1, Greene enlists another impressive compatriot and collaborator, Oscar-nominated animator, Bill Plympton.
The song itself opens with a slick banjo lick and a downhome harmonica worth of a Bruce Springsteen song. But the lyrics to “Modern Lives” showcase the 36-year-old Greene’s insightfulness and quick wit. He opens the song sharply, as he sings, “I called up the president and asked him where the money went / Told me that it all was spent long before I ever learned to drive.” From there, Greene goes on to lambast Baby Boomer budgeting, Times Square as a special kind of hell and all sorts of other contradictions of modern life. It’s not so much a protest song as a zinging song of contemporary commentary.
As for the video, “Modern Lives” depicts a trippy, zigzagging romp through a frazzled future. The car that stars by driving down the strings of a guitar turns into spaceship zooming past identical square-shaped trees before panning to the a man riding a banjo-unicycle into the stratosphere (which, to be honest, doesn’t sound too bad these days). The end of the video truly encapsulates the perfect paring of song and visuals. Plympton illustrates a row of futuristic creatures that seem to be judging us all for our Old World self-importance, as Greene returns to the chorus to scoff, “Now do us all a favor and go buzzin’ on your modern life.”
Check out the video for “Modern Lives” below and stay tuned for Greene’s forthcoming EP, The Modern Lives- Vol 1, out Oct. 13 via Blue Rose Music. Plus, if you like what you hear, you can watch Greene’s full session in the Paste Studio NYC from Feb. 2017 right here.