John K. Samson: “When I Write My Master’s Thesis”
Some days it seems like there’s nothing new to say with a song, but don’t tell that to John K. Samson. For two decades, the Winnipeg songwriter has been finding unique inspiration in the day-to-day. Samson got his start playing bass in the political punk band Propagandhi, but he found his footing with the formation of the Weakerthans in 1997. The group’s four albums are a blend of punk and folk, with Samson’s nasal croon uniting all the disparate parts together.
Perhaps more distinctive than that voice is Samson’s wry writing. Each of his songs are like mini-films, with recurring characters, historical allusions, and oftentimes funny dialogue, all wrapped into three minutes with a couple of catchy choruses. That’s the effective formula for Provincial, Samson’s brand-new solo debut. The album is not too different sonically from his past work, but that’s hardly complaining. Samson knows his way around a pop-rock anthem.
Such is the case with today’s song of the day, dedicated to the kinds of swamped graduate students we encounter daily here on the University of Texas campus. “When I Write My Master’s Thesis” tells the tale of frustrated twentysomething who’d rather play video games than complete his academic work. It’s super-specific, but also oddly relateable. Only an artist as original as John K. Samson can find beauty in these kinds of mundane activities.