Some kind of warped tradition exists between college students and lack of funds, duh. You know what stretches holes in students’ pockets even more dramatically than deceptive happy hours (nobody told me 7 o’clock had passed!)? Debt! Gotta have it, gotta love it. Here I’ve compiled the Top Five Songs ‘Bout Bein’ Broke, something to which we all unfortunately relate. See you out at Winn-Dixie’s Dumpsters, my fellow poor Pauls. But before that, in random order there’s:
“I’m Broke” by Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears
Another reason Austin rules: Funky soul-revivalist Black Joe Lewis hails from the place. This shouting enthusiast with an upfront agenda (chicken, dancing and women … what else is there?) airs empty wallet grievances on this track from last year’s (totally killer) release “Tell ‘Em What Your Name Is!” with basslines so groovy you might just find your pants involuntarily dropping. The cooing keys and bombastic bongos nicely emboss Lewis’ not-so-subtle reiteration. Hell, he kind of even makes declaring bankruptcy sound cool.
“Poor Boy” by R.L. Burnside & The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Rural L. hold the title as THE CHAMP of delta blues in any book that matters. And Jon Spencer? Well, if you don’t know him already, do yourself a favor and look him up … immediately. Spencer was the dude responsible for pulling Burnside from dimly lit jukejoints in Mississippi and scoring him a more widely spread fan network. This ditty from his ’96 release “A Ass Pocket of Whiskey” (just think about that for a moment) cranks out some of the man’s trademark hollerin’ the only way one can from a position drunkenly plopped on a dusty Jackson, Miss. porch. Not a drop of estrogen lives within those raging guitar crunches. Feel like you somehow acquired a little bottom-shelf bourbon on your breath? Join the club.
“Ain’t Got No (I Got Life)” by Nina Simone
Born Eunice Kathleen Waymon, Simone takes her preferred moniker along with the breathes of anyone lending an ear to this tune. She transfers focus with those simply soulful pipes from the bogus things lacking in her life (“Ain’t got no perfume, ain’t got no beer/ Ain’t got no man”) to all the great stuff still around (“Got my neck, got my boobies/ Got my heart, got my soul/ Got my back, I got my sex”). Look up footage of her live performance of this organ-infused inspiration for a real boost.
“Debt” by Face to Face
So-Cal skatepunks F2F plead not guilty to any kind of obligation to the big bad bank (or uncouth fast food patrons, according to the video). OK, it’s kind of a sickeningly Jax-Beach-tubular-mohawk response, but should you put your pride on pause for a moment, you might actually find yourself getting back to your pop-punk roots. At least the refrain of, “I don’t owe you anything,” might pump you up enough to ignore another bill collector’s phone call. Oi!
“Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
Shockingly not nearly as patriotic as seemingly every Vietnam War-era movie in existence seemed to perceive it, the simple drumbeats and star-spangled guitar strings’ screams act like the mud caked onto the workin’ man’s (or ramen residue onto the college student’s) knuckles. Lead singer John Fogerty gets it, “It ain’t me/ I ain’t no fortunate one.” You wouldn’t catch this man turning his nose up to a free meal. Follow suit, kiddo, and get out those coupon clipping shears. Fogerty would.