On James Brooks’ (of Elite Gymnastics) Tumblr, there’s an entry riffing on an interview John Maus gave, where he said the one thing he is trying to communicate to the world is “I exist.” From there, there’s a paragraph about how loaded “I exist,” is as a phrase is. How you can use it to communicate so much to the people you love. How it’s a much more concise and clear thing to put out into the world than a convoluted, overly specific story about why you’re mad about something. That idea has stuck with me lately, but not really in any context related to music. Still, when “Mental Breakdown” was released today, it immediately came to mind. The track comes from an upcoming compilation of Maus’ unreleased tracks and rarities, so I assume it’s a somewhat older song from the hazy pre-We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves days, when Maus had fans, but was much more a cult figure. A weird baritone secret to be enjoyed while hanging with dudes that you just know are going to get it, whatever “it” might be. There’s a lot of great songs on those earlier albums, but none approach the clarity that Maus seems to have found with Censors and a few subsequent songs. It really and truly feels like music being made by someone who is aching to show that, yes, he exists. Here’s something he made, and his entire heart and soul is in it. Maybe you’re not into it, but it’s undeniable, loaded proof that he exists. A Collection of Rarities and Previously Unreleased Material is out July 17th on Ribbon Music.
Download: John Maus, “Mental Breakdown”