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Jared Bill - Mystery Man

Mystery Man, Jared Bill‘s sophomore album, continues the wild and whimsical tale of a larger-than-life character named none other than Jared Bill. Each track unfolds like a chapter in an autobiography, painting vivid scenes of mystical corgis, ferocious corduroy shootouts, and spicy Indian delicacies. Yet beneath the quirky narratives lies a heartfelt exploration of vulnerability, love, and the human experience.

Kicking off the album is “The Jared Bill, Pt. 2”, a bluesy outlaw anthem that continues the saga of the titular character as he navigates a world of debt and deception. Outlaw country meets absurdism when the next track kicks off.

As far as origin stories go, “Turkey Baby” may not be traditionally heroic, but the clever lyrics make this character more “real.” The extreme silliness of using a baster as a rattler fills out Jared Bill’s history, turning him from a caricature into an amusing protagonist. So by the time “The Corduroy Showdown” starts, we care about this character’s safety as bullets fly over his head. Whatever Jared feels, we want to feel.

Empathy gets twisted with some lighthearted tracks like “Vindaloo” and “Avoid Ferries”, but is beautifully capitalized on the darker, grittier glimpses into Jared Bill’s life. The tale of justice and heroism in “The Man with No Middle Name” takes a grungy step out of the tonal norm the rest of Mystery Man has set. There’s a rambling quality to the vocals, but we’re along for the ride because we’re invested in every hook of the story.

“Tabs and Slots” delves into the highs and lows of gambling, while “The Girl in the Dakine Sweatshirt” paints a mysterious portrait of a thrill-seeking woman who captures Jared Bill’s imagination. Finally, “Thompson Speedway” brings the album to a poignant close with reflections on childhood, family, and the passage of time.

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Across this character’s entire life, we walk alongside him in Mystery Man. The rollicking adventures and introspective ballads dance through vignettes. It invites you to smile, to fear, to worry, and to belly laugh. “Jared thought he had got away”—the opening line in the whole album—clashes perfectly with the final line of the last track, “Welcome to the speedway. Saw the checkers in my eyes. Told me gassing up the car in under five seconds is what makes a man feel alive.” Both of them show a deep insight into this lofty yet down-to-earth character.

Stream Mystery Man below.

https://open.spotify.com/album/3iXyIHzMtohlK8mWJVFQxY?si=7XOyDrfHRMGdgjx5_inPkA

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