Dreamy and draped in reverb, “Do Yourself A Favor” delivers its message in such a soothing tone that it may take a few listens before the refrain—“fuck off and die”—penetrates the consciousness.
The song, premiering today on the INDY website, is one of Russell Howard’s first releases as The Auxiliary, an alias the Carrboro-based musician recently assumed to mark a departure from his years as a solo acoustic pop artist.
With lyrics expressly targeted toward Trump and his cronies, “Do Yourself A Favor” plays with oppositions both lyrically—“time to go” and “the time has come”; “the gig is up” and “time to tear down”—and sonically, with cinematic synths and bursts of percussion gently underscored by a honeyed ukulele line.
The result is an aptly contradictory soundscape that reflects both an administration notorious for denying reality and a society at odds with itself.
Like the ascendance of its intended recipient, Howard says the song seemed like a joke at first but eventually turned into something very real.
“Ukulele was never supposed to be on the menu,” Howard says. “But it’s hanging on the wall at home and I wrote this nice little finger picking pattern that I just liked playing. Every day or so I picked it up and played through it.”
In November 2020, during the first wave of election denial, the lyrics came to him.
“It was kind of a joke. Like, let’s just get this whole mess over with. But as the next year wore on, I felt there was something in this that was real, something raw that wasn’t present when a song is meticulously crafted,” Howard says. “A universal—if impolite—sentiment.”
“Do Yourself a Favor” will be included in The Auxiliary’s debut EP, scheduled to release this fall.
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