Song Of The Week - Martha Wainwright - Bloody Motherf#@#ing Asshole
They’re a remarkable bunch, the Wainwrights. Father Loudon III is, very simply, one of the finest songwriters in the history of pop music, none more witty, none more deeply personal, none more brutally self-lacerating.
His marriage to the also really rather talented Canadian folk singer-songwriter Kate McGarrigle, resulted in two children, both of whom have also forged notable careers in the music industry. Martha’s older brother Rufus has always had the higher profile, championed by everyone from Elton John to Robbie Williams, famed for recreating Judy Garland and a string of critically raved albums.
Martha’s output has been smaller in quantity but equally steeped in quality. Growing up Wainwright was not easy however. The marriage collapsed swiftly and Loudon was a long-noted absent father, often documenting this absence and the sometimes bitter recriminations of his offspring in his work. For the kids, he cast a hell of a long shadow.
Yet it was Martha – with this song – who proved more than a match for her dad. It’s a song about her dad, a cry at his absence both whilst he was away and when he tried to reconnect with her later in life. It is – and this is clearly something that runs in the family – deeply honest and almost impossibly brutal. It’s also a love song. Despite the abrasiveness of its title, it’s one of the best love songs written anywhere by anyone in at least the last ten years. If you’ve never heard it before, listen to it from that perspective.
On the news front – Loudon has a new album out this week, Haven’t Got The Blues (Yet), which is a fantastic collection of new songs about the same old stuff (and more) and Martha joins him on it, proving that calling your dad a bloody motherfucking arsehole can sometimes help to bring a family closer.
On the movie side? Well Loudon’s had something of a career as an actor, Martha less so. But if you look closely at Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator, all three of the Wainwrights – Loudon, Rufus and Martha – play the band performing at one of Howard Hughes’ big parties. Scorsese. Hughes. Wainwright – you know it makes sense.
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