Thursday, October 4th, 2018

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – Blueberry Jam

Not the best song, but certainly the best kind of berry, so good on Billy for that.


Alex Clifton: “Blueberry Jam” is a very goofy novelty song made all the better through the fact that (a) Bonnie “Prince” Billy definitely got his money’s worth out of a rhyming dictionary and (b) the lyric video is surreal and phenomenal. There’s also something to be said for that final, hysterical crescendo–when everything stops rhyming–and he wails “we’ll be FIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE” and for ten seconds the music crashes and you’re not actually sure if it will be fine before it all resolves. I like novelty music well enough, but I love “Blueberry Jam.” It’s catchy and kitschy but, more importantly, has reminded me what joy feels like. The world’s on fire! Eat a blueberry! Find a small, simple thing to love and pursue it whole-heartedly. Earnestness usually scores well with me, and this song is almost so earnest that it hurts, but it’s silly enough to rein it back in from becoming sappy or sentimental. The rest of the song is delicious nonsense, and honest to god I would not have it any other way. 

Alfred Soto: I’m glad it sounds muddy as shit: the better to bury the moon/June rhymes. A pity, for bearded melancholy rarely sports an organ this hot and an opening riff echoing “Tumblin’ Dice.”

Julian Axelrod: You can add as many harmonicas and accordions as you like, but you still wrote a Wiggles song.

Juan F. Carruyo: A nice, comfortable, homemade slice of weirdo pie. Will Oldham tries to find as many rhymes for blueberry like he was Dylan in 1975 writing Mozambique. An impressive feat that I can’t guarantee will have any staying power beyond this current month. 

Joshua Minsoo Kim: “Blueberry Jam” has one unique thing going for it: I would be far more appreciative of its existence had it been specifically commissioned for use in an advertisement.

Maxwell Cavaseno: About a decade ago in my father’s living room, he and friends were having an animated debate on the merits of an aspiring soul singer who was performing on TV, trying to get his moderately popular single to blow up. My dad mentioned one of his friends who was older who’d worked with Nina Simone and such would’ve loved the singer while a friend shot back “YEAH, HE WAS FROM THE GENERATION THAT THOUGHT WILSON PICKETT COULD SING.” So look, no offense meant because Oldham didn’t make a particularly egregious song here, but this is for the generation that thought Mr. Show was funny.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: In a music industry where every new release feels increasingly focus-grouped to death, engineered to appeal to as many different audiences as possible, I very much appreciate that “Blueberry Jam” feels like it was made for an audience of 12 at most. Will I listen to it again? Unclear. Am I glad it exists? Certainly!

Edward Okulicz: This should be indefensible, because it’s a novelty song, and also by Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, whom I have very little time for. But defend it I shall, because it sounds like a mid-1990s TV commercial for some out-of-town store that’s in your town or city’s local advertising market for some accident of geography. This commercial would not be selling blueberries; that would be too obvious. It’s telling you where to go to get your suspension fixed, purchase Christmas lights in April, or get your gardening supplies (but again, not blueberries). It’s rocking you slightly to inoculate you from its increasingly desperate rhyming scheme. It’s making you dance ever so slightly, in an ever so embarrassed fashion.

Ian Mathers: I’ve got to admit, I’m just the tiniest bit disappointed he never ended a line with “rhyming dictionary.”

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5 Responses to “Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – Blueberry Jam”

  1. bigtime offended on behalf of wilson pickett and mr show

  2. amazing chosen image

  3. I love Alex’s blurb (although I’m more aligned with Jacob), but mostly I’m just offended at whoever wrote the subhed because the blueberry, while fine, is far from the best berry.

  4. I did and I will FIGHT you Ian

    (I won’t obviously)

  5. thank you all for indulging me on my new favourite song

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