Published Jun 10, 2019A true blue fan of rock music, Tim Heidecker draws upon some of his influences for this clever, catchy concept record about many of the ways one might feel if they were dumped by someone else. For a landscape, he has primarily chosen aspects of 1970s rock and its sonic aesthetic — from the instrumentation, arrangements, and production — but the results are rather timeless and earnest.
What the Brokenhearted Do… kicks off with "Illegal," and a nod to the emphatic rhythmic bursts of "Crazy on You" by Heart, but then moves on to a more steady rock feel that is dark, in the vein of Nick Lowe or Warren Zevon. "When I Get Up" is a cheery song about depression-induced escapism that feels a little bit John Lennon and a little bit Harry Nilsson, and also foretells of a theme regarding the connection between sleep (in excess or deprivation) and madness. Later, on "Insomnia," we get a sort of silly song that struts around depression with the reverence of "Weird Al" Yankovic, complete with a throwback to upbeat rockabilly.
"Funeral Shoes" is a sad song but, with its mid-'70s Dylan, Rolling Thunder Revue arrangement, contains a certain power and some genuinely funny lines: "I'm gonna get drunk with my mother and father / Then I'm gonna run through the lawn of the house where we used to live." It depicts attending a funeral in the town you were raised, thoughtfully chronicling the feelings that flood your mind when confronted with what "home" really means, after you've made yourself a new one.
On "Coffee's Gone Cold," Heidecker sings a song for the dumped, ruminating on the pointlessness of life when one feels rejected by another. He emotes for a lost love, but mostly conveys how difficult it is to perform basic life tasks when the pain you feel is so crippling. He gets a lot out of his system with a primal expression of hopeless hope towards the end: "Don't you think she'll come back to me?"
Heidecker's work as a student of music often pays off. "I Don't Think About You (Much Anymore)" isn't a country song, but the misdirection, in expressing one idea but meaning its opposite, clearly shows off a music fan's knowledge and the attention he has paid to great songwriters. Ditto for "Finally Getting Over," which feeds off of On the Beach-era Neil Young for a guitar-centric dirge that's steeped in an emotionally manipulative kind of bitterness, bolstered by some cool solos and screaming vocals.
What the Brokenhearted Do...is rich in raw songs, often short and sardonic, that revel in Tim Heidecker's unique ability to live a creative life replete with profundity and utterly misanthropic sentiments. Nobody does it better. (Jagjaguwar/Outside)