Singer-songwriters have been tackling existential questions about life and death since time immemorial' or at least the 1960s. But when it came to Blitzen Trapper's newest album, Holy Smokes Future Jokes, front man Eric Earley looked beyond mere existence'or even the end of it'to contend with grander cosmic explorations: namely, the intermediate period between a person's separate lives on earth, 'and what it means to escape the cycle of birth and rebirth,' he explains. Inspired by George Saunders' 2017 experimental tome, Lincoln in the Bardo and the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Earley's lyrics take the listener on a wild and dramatic journey through rivers of waist-high water in the aftermath of a tragic car wreck and the hazy morning before a murderous moment, and from getting blitzed to the point of extinction inside a masonic temple to a stop for chips and dip before the apocalypse.
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