Sometimes, I worry about Tim Kasher. I know that's a completely ludicrous, arrogant feeling to have. It presumes that I, as an avid but distant fan, know what's going on in the private life and mind of an artist through his art. Conor Oberst never had a younger brother that died in a bathtub and Will Sheff is, in all likelihood, not a woman cheating on her husband on an island off the coast of Maine. It's common for artists to invent a fiction of a situation to channel emotional truth. Yet, for some reason, Kasher has always seemed like the most earnest and fiction-less songwriter I have known, for better or for worse.
This all started for me with the song, "Art is Hard." It was one of my first exposures to the band, and the fact that it was so self-aware and self-referential colored a lot of my early impression of the band. Here was a guy singing about songs. In the lyrics, the speaker laments the lack of emotional turmoil to milk for profit and song. In fact, the highest form of turmoil he has is, in fact, that very situation: passing the hat around and making money off of his misery. "Everything I hide ends up in lyrics," sings Kasher. Who are we to doubt his authenticity when he baldly addresses it?