There is an important part of the Book of Genesis that is easy to miss. Right after God cursed women with painful childbirth, he spewed an even worse fate: falling in love with jerks. God knows those men are charming at first. Then his wit turns into sarcasm that lowers your self-esteem. A century of weariness creeps into your voice, as if you’ve crossed the western border with nothing but the clothes on your back and a Billie Holiday record on the jukebox.
This is the spirit of Kara Jackson’s “Dickhead Blues,” a bitter and hilarious read of douchebag lovers spitting out empty promises and “taking a vacation with you.” The Chicago singer-songwriter’s voice is so mournful, so tired, that listening to it could make a cigarette magically appear between your fingers. The instrumentation is initially sparse, as Jackson identifies her problem as pretentious coffee-drinking men—”coyotes in culottes,” she says. But the song veers toward self-assertion: “I’m no longer amused by losers realizing they’re losing me,” taking flight in the second half as the drums swell, the strings swell, and the xylophone flickers. “I’m pretty top-notch,” Jackson concludes, eventually giving up caring for the neglected.