Desert Island Singles: “Blame The Vain” by Dwight Yoakam (2005)Posted: May 28, 2013
I’ve documented heretofore my views on “new country.” And I’ve mentioned that, if it weren’t for new wave in the late ’70s, I would have written off rock’n’roll. Similarly: if it weren’t for the “new traditionalists” that had their brief moment in the sun in the late ’80s and early ’90s, I would have written off country music completely.
DY is one of those new traditionalists. He’s variously been called the Elvis Costello, the Warren Zevon, and the Quentin Tarentino of country music. Johnny Cash once famously pronounced Yoakam his favorite up-and-coming male artist. And his longtime friendship with mentor Buck Owens is well known.
Dwight proves that one can exist and thrive outside of the “mainstream.” His well-documented blend of three to five different musical styles continues to work because, simply, very few other artists do it. The man’s lyrics are rarely discussed, his formulations are evocative and intelligent. Plus, he rocks. Watch out though, because you’ll be grooving and then suddenly some massive steel guitar will be wailing. – J.M. O’Connell
Two decades into his career Dwight Yoakam is still the man who is too country for Nashville, and on “Blame The Vain” he shows he’s got too much strength and soul to let anyone hold him down — this is inspired stuff from a rebel who has plenty to offer.- Mark Deming
“Blame The Vain” is the title track from his 2005 album. DY had jumped ship from long-time home Warner/Reprise, tried his hand at starting his own short-lived label, and finally released it on indie label New West. (A few years later he was back with Warner, and released the critically acclaimed “Three Pears.”)
Never mind that Yoakam looks like a goofball without his cowboy hat: this is country music for intelligent people.
I blame the vain for what we wear,
And I blame the blind when we can’t see.
I blame it all on someone else,
Till there’s nobody left, then I just blame me.
I blame her mind for the thoughts we share,
And I blame her heart for the time we cared.
I blame it all on how we used to be,
Till she’s finally gone, then I’ll just blame me.
So go ahead and blame,
Anything that you want.
‘Cause it all ends up the same,
When everything that you’ve been claiming is wrong.
Oh and don’t you know that blame,
Is always never enough.
It just keeps you in the game,
Till you’ve only got yourself left to bluff.
So I blame the vain for what we wear,
Yeah, and I’ll blame the blind when we can’t see.
I’ll blame it all on someone else,
Till there’s nobody left, then I’ll just blame me.
Till she’s finally gone, then I just blame me.