Red and blue watercolor-like paint lines above yellow lines that look like a skyline

Sam Craighead’s newest release “Self-Portrait w/Fries” made me question: what do I think of comedy music?

I like Sam Craighead’s catalog.

His skillset fits a Henry Nilson-meets David-Berman vibe, clueing you in why people have Kris Kristofferson and Michael McDonald records at their house. Ballads your parents could have conceived you with. He wears sweaters and glasses. He looks like someone who would write songs that people who like Band of Horses would like.

I liked his band Heavy Mole ten years ago. I thought his newest band, Feature Films, delivered one of the most beautiful Columbus records during the past five years.

In fact, I was thinking: I would probably consider myself a Sam Craighead fan.

I went to the Rock Potluck at Ace of Cups specifically because Sam and Winston Hightower were in a band.

Winston didn’t play. He was working at Ace. The band was both funny and musically competent.

Winton’s bands Minority Threat and Mr. Craighead both have released via Columbus, Ohio’s Head2Wall Records. Head2Wall’s roster is releasing Summerhead which features members of Trashtalk making Arial Pink style music. Sam Craighead is not in Summerhead to my knowledge. Head2Wall roster is musically eclectic roster.

Head2Wall is owned by a guy who I know as Ninja Nate. Nate always seems like he is 10 years younger, 6 inches taller, and slightly bulkier than everyone he is talking to about music.

He comes off like a guy who really likes getting food with his friends after watching punk shows.

“Self Portrait with Fries” starts with “SF Blues” which laments “WIFI isn’t as free as you want it to be.” I don’t know if this is a net neutrality complaint or a set-up for bland musings.

Sam discusses spending too much time in the airplane bathroom. He also mentions working out in the hotel gym. The song comes off like a middle-class businessman discussing his week.

Musically, it’s sequenced with keyboard layers which would be musically sound if the content wasn’t absurd.

“Summer Buns” let’s you know he is talking from the vantage point of a middle-class man. “Summer Buns” is Craighead describing the new television he purchased to a friend and how well his wireless works. In between, he mentions a shooting at McDonald’s you assume the character saw from his remarkable television.

“Kevin’s World” finds Craighead’s character in the same voice and musical style talking about loading his rifles to kill people. Then you wonder if in between watching television and relaxing if the blandness is to describe the setting for toxic masculinity.

This is where the satire goes from seemingly unnecessary parody to social commentary.

“Casual Laidback Sunday” find Mr. Craighead bidding farewell to someone he doesn’t hold in a high regard while packing up condoms. This song finds Craighead headed to the airport.

“Skeletons” sounds like Craighead is explaining to someone who is about to have kids to move to the West side because there is still idealism there.

This narrative sounds ridiculous. It’s held together by an understanding how to make ballads that sound like they could be written in the 70’s or by someone playing Coachella.

Sam Craighead is respected in experimental circles. You could argue that his comedy project Nut Juggler fits the Lo-fi and Uffie era that the late 2000’s internet embraced. Aside from Nut Juggler’s web presence it never sounds like noise or hip hop, or dance music.

Yet Sam Craighead is one the person my friends could agree about regardless if they like Gucci Mane, lo-fi rock, Hardcore, Sunburned Hand of the Man, Daft Punk, or Tin Armor.

Did we need an album that makes humor about the seemingly mundaneness of adult contemporary middle-class life?

I don’t know. I can say that Sam Craighead’s newest release is listenable and effective with subtle humor.

Perhaps it’s Black Flag’s “Family Man” for people who like what you guess Yacht Rock sounded like if you never heard the genre.