It could be said that the music of Daniel Johnston is especially sad, because it has such a peppy little sound to it. While getting ready this morning, I chose Johnston's new early recordings compilation, The Story of An Artist (Munster Records), as my background music and found my spirits quickly lifted by his eccentric piano playing and child like way of singing. Knowing the back story of Johnston, and how he has suffered from bipolar disorder nearly his whole life, his songs quickly became bittersweet to the ears with lyrics like those found in "Hate Song" where he sings: "You won't even know who you are or what you're doing/Just you and your shadow on the wall/You won't even get nuthin' for Christmas/No one will take you to the mall."
It's a bummer that the most gifted and talented people in life are often those who are struck down by mental illness. Um ... Happy Friday?
If you happen to have an extra $90 laying around, go out and buy this set - which includes 6 CDs, and a 64-page book containing Johnston's artwork and notes by music journalist (and Bust contributor) Everett True. Honestly, it's money well spent.