Michael Jasud, of Dead Soldiers and Detective No. 1 fame, released a new single using the name, The Smartest Man in the World, on Tuesday, May 19th. Though he’s worked on the project since the last days of Dead Soldiers, the new release could not be more timely for listeners with plenty of worries. The song, “The Ultimate Worrier,” is a sonic salve to soothe the listener’s jangled nerves.
The song opens with bright acoustic guitars and quiet percussion that at first calls to mind The Beatles’ “I’ll Follow the Sun.” The comparison is quickly dispelled by a turnaround that feels distinctly American — and by Jasud’s country-tinged vocal delivery.
Devotees of Jasud’s career will note that “The Smartest Man in the World” is the name of a track from Dead Soldiers’ 2017 album The Great Emptiness. About his new musical moniker, Jasud says, “As far as the band name is concerned, I’ve found that if you talk to any one person for long enough that they seem to know everything. Global warming, the economy, how to handle a pandemic? They’ll know. I’m certainly no different.” Jasud continues: “So does that make me the smartest man in the world? Technically, yes, because I’ve now released music on digital platforms calling myself that, so I think legally that’s my name now. In the future, once I have fans, I will call them the smarties or big heads or the big brains or maybe the brainiacs. I haven’t decided.”
- Joey Miller
- Michael Jasud
The song was recorded at High/Low Recording with Toby Vest and Pete Matthews, frequent creative collaborators with Jasud.
“The Ultimate Worrier” feels more in keeping with Jasud’s work with Dead Soldiers, though it has more of a ’70s high-and-breezy feel, whereas Dead Soldiers leaned into a rough and raucous persona they called city music. Still, though the production is as crisp as that of Detective No. 1’s multilayered, genre film-influenced instrumental vamps, there are fewer bells and whistles here. That’s not to say there isn’t plenty of ear candy on Jasud’s newest release. The guitars shimmer, and the organ conjures a hauntingly wistful mood. The bass walk-down at about 1:55, simple though it is, made this reviewer look up and smile. Musically, the song is a celebration of the joys of subtle touches put to good effect.
Lyrically, the song muses on the futility of worry, imagining a pugilistic worrywart stepping into the ring to take on catastrophe and uncertainty. “Because the only things that you can lose / Are the things that you already have / That’s the price you pay for living here, I guess / Is to have a future and a past,” Jasud sings.
So, dear reader, never fear. Jasud worries so you don’t have to.
The Smartest Man in the World’s “The Ultimate Worrier” is now available on all digital platforms.