It was sometime last year that I stumbled upon this less than conventional musician. I can remember the day pretty well – I was sat in the overcrowded short loan section of the University library with my headphones plugged into my laptop, listening to music on Spotify (before my troubles with usage limits and sampling different websites) while I procrastinated my way through an essay. I had typed “Ben Gibbard” into Spotify’s search bar, trying to find one of the Death Cab For Cutie front man’s solo tracks, only to be greeted by a track named after the singer himself. The artist was someone completely unknown to me – The Passionate & Objective Jokerfan. Although not what I had been looking for, I decided to queue it up anyway in the interest of procrastination.
It’s difficult to explain the experience I had on the first listen, sat in a crowded library with my headphones tucked under my hat, but imagine a combination of slight confusion, mixed with laugh-out-loud amusement. All of this was then combined with trying not to disturb everyone around me by actually laughing out loud. I succeeded, mostly.
The album Songs About Singers is basically what the title says. The songs range from Ben Folds, You Use Too Many Bad Words in Your Songs, to the somewhat mocking lyrics of The Edge Is Annoyed With Bono, which finishes with the line “the world needs more great rock music and less meetings between politicians and celebrities.” Take that as you will.
I would be lying if I said that this alone didn’t make The Passionate & Objective Jokerfan an interesting and amusing find. But what makes him (they?) even more unusual is the complete lack of online presence. And I do mean complete lack – no website, no Wikipedia article. It may have been someone naive of me to assume, but I didn’t think it was possible for an artist to be selling songs on iTunes and not have someone write a Wikipedia page on their behalf. Since my initial discovery last year a Myspace page has appeared, but all it contains is a music player. No information, no photographs, no nothing. I still don’t know if this is just one guy and a piano or if there’s a whole band behind it.
Needless to say, I encourage you to go out and search for yourself. He has written songs about a variety of bands and musicians, with a whole album dedicated to Bob Dylan (which I’m sure is hilarious if you’re a Dylan fan yourself. I’m not – I feel the humour was somewhat lost on me). Maybe if you like it enough you could even set about making your own Wikipedia page for this unknown musical-comic, but with the lack of available information there’d be a lot of imagination required. My levels of procrastination haven’t got that bad quite yet, although we’ll see how the rest of summer goes.
Feist & Ben Gibbard – Train Song (the song that I was originally looking for. Apologies if it’s not available anymore).