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The Decemberists' "My Mother Was a Chinese Trapeze Artist"

In the commentary track for the Coen Bros.' movie The Man Who Wasn't There, Billy Bob Thornton states (jokingly?) that the Coens wanted him for the role of Ed Crane (main character) and that the brothers pitched the film to him as a story about a barber who wants to become a dry cleaner. There is so much more to it than that, but a reductionist could make the case that that about sums it up.

Similarly, the song "My Mother Was a Chinese Trapeze Artist" by The Decemberists is so much more than what I'm about to praise it for being, but it joys me to crown it as my favorite song about a sailor who wants to become a baker.

(I also appreciate its ghostly callback to another song of theirs, "Shanty for the Arethusa.")

Please enjoy both if you never have, or rediscover them if it's been a while since last you've heard them.

My Mother Was a Chinese Trapeze Artist
Apple Music

Shanty for the Arethusa (maybe listen to this one first?)
Apple Music


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