Buttercup – Brad

Buttercup was a watershed moment for me. The first track on Shame by Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard’s side project Brad. I bought this album expecting one thing (it was going to sound like a Grunge Guitarist letting totally loose) and what I got was the complete opposite.

I was angry the first time I put on the record. Not because of the record itself. I’d had another in a long line of arguments with my other half of the time. We weren’t seeing eye to eye on a lot. We’d been up all night arguing and I thought some new noise would help calm me down. So I went back to my digs and put Shame on the stereo.

The mellow, spacious, soulful sound of Buttercup stopped me in my tracks. What a beautiful lilting refrain Stone Gossard plays when I expected downtuned sludge. The vocalist Shawn Smith has the most amazing voice. The band we’re almost in Jazz territory.

Too slow and genteel to call a blues number this mournful ballad picks over the bones of a dying relationship

“You ain’t my buttercup, I ain’t your little fool. I know that ain’t a part of the deal”

I flopped down onto the bed after the first track and fell into a deep sleep.

“It’s just a matter of time” sung over and over sailing me away.

So far so ambient.

That’s all well and good until you get to the hidden track at the end of Shame. After a couple of minutes of complete silence… A hideous distorted voice spits insults and chastisement at a poor victim loudly and viciously. It woke me with a start. I literally jumped off the bed. I damned near pissed my pants too.

There was the grunge anger I was expecting, right when I didn’t want it anymore. Fuck you Brad.

6 thoughts on “Buttercup – Brad

  1. Man, one of my favourite songs ever. From one of my favourite albums ever. I actually wrote some about this way back when I picked up the reissue (minus that angry outro, by the way) and have been meaning to revisit that post and write a bit more about the content of the album rather than just my experience with discovering Brad. Anyhoo, this post is a good reminder to do that.

    Have you got any of Shawn Smith’s other stuff?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Man, you should check out his Shield of Thorns album. Easily one of my all time favourites. You’ll likely recognise Wrapped in My Memory – used in the Sopranos. Great tune. Destroys me any time I listen to it. I think has bandcamp has a whole load of his stuff cheap, if you have trouble tracking down CDs.

        You may like Satchel, too… and Pigeonhed. So much to delve into, man (I’m sure I mentioned All Hail the Crown and the From The North albums before??)

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s