Song of the Day #1,086: ‘Michael and His Dad’ – Ron Sexsmith

Ron Sexsmith’s most recent album, Long Player Late Bloomer, was released just this year and, while I hate to sound like a broken record here, it is perhaps his best yet.

Ironically, the biggest knock on Sexsmith is that he’s so consistently good at doing what he does that his work tends to run together. With most artists, I can point to an album (or two or three) that epitomize their greatness. I have an Elvis Costello holy trinity, six Dylan albums I consider his masterpieces, clear favorites by the likes of Lyle Lovett, Ben Folds, Aimee Mann and Lucinda Williams.

But Sexsmith has released nine studio albums that all have a legitimate claim as his best. Sometimes the production might get in the way, either too minimalist or too busy, but the songs are exceptional, from the very first track on album one to the very last track on this album. Good problem to have, I guess.

I won’t discuss Long Player Late Bloomer in depth because I still have to write my review (along with reviews of a half-dozen movies and several other albums… I’m way behind). Instead I’ll just offer up a couple of its songs.

‘Michael and His Dad’ is the sweet tale of a father and son dealing with the economic recession and the death of the kid’s mother.

Michael and his dad
Sitting at a table in the corner
Reading the want ads
Sprawled across the table in the corner
And there is no time to play
All the signs seem to say

It takes much more than love
It takes much more than love

Michael and his dad
Live in an apartment in the basement
Sitting by the rad
In this cold and damp apartment in the basement
Where the sun does not come through
And all the bills are overdue

It takes much more than love
It takes much more than love
When making do

Mother’s gone away to the land of safe keeping
Michael walking from the grave
Says “Dad, she’s only sleeping”

Michael and his dad
Sitting on a bench beside the playground
They take each others hand
And head towards the sandbox in the playground
And there a castle’s made for two
The sun is high, the sky is blue

It takes much more than love
It takes much more than love
It takes two

It takes much more than love
It takes much more than love
It takes two
Michael and his dad
Michael and his dad
Michael and his dad

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,086: ‘Michael and His Dad’ – Ron Sexsmith

  1. Dana says:

    Well, as I have not so subtlely hinted over the past few weekends, I join in the knock against Sexsmith that there is a certain sameness to his music that would keep him from being one of my personal faves. Still, what I hear, I do generally like, and this song is no exception. And I think he has achieved a good production balance on this album, at least if this song is a reflection of that.

  2. Ellie says:

    As with so many of Ron’s songs, you can really read into it on as many different levels as you want. The pathos and depth of understanding here is powerful. He is not only beloved of singer songwriters. He has many, many fans who are not musicians but who really love his music.

  3. lou says:

    one needs to listen through that sameness that you hear (for i hear it too) and hear the song itself. i often think about who else might be singing this song in 10, 20 or 30 years – or go backwards if you like. I hear McCartney and Wings in these harmonies… Close your eyes and hear any number of bands who could have covered it. Toto, the Bangles, Bruce Hornsby, Simple Minds….. Or jump forward in time and imagine Adele singing ‘Thinking out loud’ or Lady Antebellum doing ‘Hard Bargain’ …

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