Some Songs Last A Long Time: The Legacy of Daniel Johnston

by on March 19, 2014

Posted in: Folk, Music, My Shows, Rock

Back in 1990, minimalist mastermind Daniel Johnston released 1990, an album chock full of longing, loss, heartbreak, and satan.   On the album’s fifth track, “Some Things Last a Long Time” the ever vulnerable Johnston trembles and lisps his way through the experience of a stifled and unrequited love to the tune of spare piano chords, stray guitars, muffled laughter, and rippling ambience.   It’s one of the saddest, simplest songs ever written, and if you’re not careful with this track, you could end up in tears.  Pair it with another Daniel Johnston classic like “True Love Will Find You in the End“, and you’ll be just fine.

Though Jad Fair, Johnston’s friend and collaborator, is credited with the ballad’s bittersweet lyrics, “Some Things Last a Long Time” falls right in line with Johnston’s signature story as a devastatingly hopeless romantic, and remains one of the best songs in his prolific discography. Since 1990‘s release 24 years ago, Johnston has become the old and enduring grandaddy of lo-fi music, and “Some Things Last a Long Time” has been covered by the likes of Beach House, Beck, and Built to Spill.

Swedish songstress, Lykke Li, released a new track today called “No Rest for the Wicked” on which she sings; “I let my true love die / I had his heart and I broke it every time” to a tune you should all be familiar with by now, and I can’t help think it’s the long lost letter that Daniel Johnston’s been waiting all these years to receive:


Kate Leib is WRMC’s social media manager and co-hosts “Sweet ‘n Lo-Fi  Thursday nights, 8-10 on WRMC.

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