Nerd rock royalty, internet success story, and all around likable dude Jonathan Coulton is back with surprisingly straight forward pop-rocker “Sucker Punch”, a bright, feel-good jam with some heavy roots in late-90’s radio rock (think The Rembrandts, Tal Bachman, Dexter Freebish, etc.), as well as the work of fellow nerd favorites They Might Be Giants (probably because the band’s John Flansburg produced the track) . The rather earnest lyrics may surprise those expecting another ballad about zombies, mad scientists, homicidal robots, or the insanity of Tom Cruise, but the guy sure knows how to write a catchy song about letting off some steam with a bit of good old fashioned vandalism. Coulton still has some fun with the word play (“I can see the bottom and the bottom’s okay” is particularly clever), and the track boasts a sing-along earworm of a chorus. It’s not high art, but it sure is smile-inducing.
The track’s surprisingly short (as in sub-two minutes, Ramones song short), though, and really could have sustained its peppy energy for a bit longer. If the release is intended to leave you wanting more of his new LP Artificial Heart, then mission accomplished, Mr. Coulton. But it’s still a bit of a cruel teaser. If your interest has been sufficiently piqued, you can download the album NOW from his website (or those other, bigger online music stores, you corporate sell-outs!), or you can catch Jonathan live in Brooklyn this coming Tuesday, alongside They Might be Giants and an impressive line-up of comedians, including John Hodgman, John Oliver, and Paul Rudd. He’ll follow up with a short tour, sans comedians. You can find the full dates here, and download the MP3 of Sucker Punch here (for free, because that’s how JC rolls)!