Eddie Spaghetti: The Value of Nothing

[24 September 2013]

By Stephen Haag

It’s a pretty safe rule of thumb that, when the Supersuckers’ Eddie Spaghetti (nee Edward Carlyle Daly III) steps away from his day job as frontman/bassist for The Greatest Rock And Roll Band In The World for a solo album, the raucousness gets dialed down, the twang gets turned up and the listener gets treated to an enjoyable mix of clever originals and well-chosen cover tunes that all goes down as smooth as an ice-cold Lone Star on a hot summer day. Solo Album Number Four, The Value of Nothing finds Spaghetti turning in his first album of all-original material, recorded over all of three days with producer Jesse Dayton, resulting in the most thematically-cohesive Eddie Spaghetti album yet.

While it’s true that the joy of discovering what covers songs Spaghetti would unearth on his records is missing from TVON (past albums have included gems from Nick Lowe, the Dwarves, Prince, and the Lee Harvey Oswald Band), the lyrical focus more than makes up for it. Much of TVON feels like a retrenching, with Spaghetti reclaiming hard-won territory that outside forces are trying to leach from him. From the opening title track’s first words – “I hate to tell ya / but I’m gonna” – Spaghetti’s standing his ground. He plays the #humblebrag card on “If Anyone’s Got The Balls”; defends his right to be lazy on “Waste of Time” (“Relax, blow it off, it’s fine… I like getting lucky, ‘cuz getting good’s too hard”) and rails at the universe in general on “Fuckin’ With My Head”, a 2:12 punker that doesn’t quite fit sonically, but certainly fits thematically and also answers the question, What if the Damned came from Austin? Fun. Meanwhile, the conjunto (!) tune “People Are Shit” (where Spaghetti’s wife worries about him being on the road) pretty much sums up Spaghetti’s worldview circa 2013. 

Spaghetti may be (rightly) cranky, but he loves his family, and vice versa. He marvels at his good luck in love on “You Get To Be My Age” (“...and I get to be yours,” he charmingly and cleverly closes the couplet), takes care of household duties on the jazzy “One Man Band” and takes pride in being able to answer his own question of “Who’s gonna be the one to know you?” on the noirish “I’ve Got A Secret”.

On his last two solo records, he’s turned closing-track duties over to his son, Quattro, who’s AWOL this time around, so Spaghetti closes with “When I Go, I’m Gone”. Borrowed from the ‘Suckers’ 2008 album, Get It Together, it’s now a slow(er) dusty waltz that perfectly summarizes the album: defiant to his detractors and bittersweet to his loved ones. Dude’s a rock ‘n’ roll lifer, proudly out of touch with prevailing trends (think of Supersuckers’ classics like “Born With A Tail” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Records (Ain’t Selling This Year)”), but, with The Value of Nothing, Spaghetti turns in one of his truest, most honest records yet.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/174945-eddie-spaghetti-the-value-of-nothing/