Technically, this new single from Weakerthans frontman (and old-timey Propaghandi bassist) John K. Samson's forthcoming solo album Provincial hit the tubes a couple weeks ago, but anything that comes out after the first week of December basically falls into the oubliette of year-end list making, forever to be forgotten, or at least until the New Year's Eve hangovers fade. If you're a follower of Samson's songwriting with the Weakerthans, you know what to expect here: literate and affecting lyrics, simple propulsive guitar hooks, a perfectly sticky chorus. In 1997, Samson's "Futon Revolutionist" was hanging a diploma on the bathroom wall; in 2012, he's still working on his master's thesis.
These are #firstworldproblems, but Samson knows his audience, and for a certain type of ambitious but idealistic indoor kid, the song's portrait of unfulfilled promise is as crushing as anything. These are the broad strokes, but Samson's gift is often for the smallest details: maybe he wrote this song years ago, and/but/so that line about "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" makes it sound, again, like this protagonist has been putting off this thesis for years. It kills me.