Much more than your average vegan Communist infidel, I can identify with red-state America because in addition to the John Zorn and Acid Mothers Temple we’re having our wedding band play this August, my fiancée and I wanna slow-dance to two songs: Sixpence None the Richer’s “Kiss Me” and “I’ll Be,” by rootsy South Carolina frat fave Edwin McCain. Even after millions of spins on AAA radio, “I’ll Be” gives me goosebumps: Few love songs employ the future tense, so when McCain assures his beloved that he’ll “be better when I’m older,” his fierce, pragmatic devotion cuts through the empty hyperbole to which our ears have become inured.
There’s nothing as casually profound as “I’ll Be” on Lost in America, McCain’s latest attempt to capitalize on his brush with VH1 ubiquity. Yet there’s still an unvarnished honesty to his writing that the handsome mush-rock arrangements don’t set you up for: In “Welcome to Struggleville” he describes a suburban Salome who’s grown “a few pounds fatter,” and in the title track he divulges the location of the small fortune “I’ll Be” continues to earn him—it’s “buried out back in a cookie jar.” Not wise choices for the wedding, then. Fifth anniversary, perhaps?
Edwin McCain plays B.B. King’s May 2.