Album Review : Tim Heidecker – What The Brokenhearted Do…

It took me a long time to find an “in” with Tim Heidecker. In-particular, the comedy he created with Eric Warheim. Watching Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job on Adult Swim was both absolute hilarity and mild-to-extreme unease. Their comedy was this weird mix of 80s cable access video effects and mild hallucinatory fever dream. Crude, odd, and clever all rolled into one. The jokes never seemed to quit even when doing interviews, with late night talk show appearances blurring the line between sincere and cinema verite.

So when Tim Heidecker announced a new album coming out on Jagjaguwar called What The Brokenhearted Do… and stated it’s a breakup album, I wondered if Heidecker was really going thru a divorce. Turns out What The Brokenhearted Do… is not a real breakup record, rather a fake one. The album is written in the voice of a guy who’s going thru a bad breakup, and Heidecker proves he can write a pretty great sadsack jingle. In fact, while it may be a fake divorce record, this is most definitely not a fake record. What The Brokenhearted Do… is an all-out great pop album in the spirit of 70s singer/songwriters.

Heidecker is pulling inspiration from names like Warren Zevon, Todd Rundgren, and Van Morrison on his newest faux breakup record. In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Heidecker stated that him and producer Jonathan Rado(of Foxygen) used the sonic palate of John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band as their engineering direction. A no-frills production that accents the songwriting and melodies.

Opening track “Illegal” is a catchy track with driving keys, dreamy synths, and Heidecker’s harmonies. The song completely captures the era of early 70s southern California AM rock. “When I Get Up” will have you singing along from the get-go. A sunny disposition in the key of Nilsson. Of course, it’s a song about a depressive not wanting to leave the confines of his Sealey Posturepedic, but it’s still a hell of a track. “Coffee’s Gone Cold” is a sad little waltz that would’ve fit nicely on Randy Newman’s Little Criminals.

Title track “What The Brokenhearted Do” is a piano-driven ballad that has a Jackson Browne vibe, as does “Sometimes It Happens This Way”. “Finally Getting Over” gets a little gritty with a Neil Young and Crazy Horse bite in the buzzing guitars.

The biggest mistake you could make about this record is that you’d pass it by because you’d think it’s not a serious record. While the narrative may be a fictional tale of a relationship gone bad, the songs here are as serious as a great pop song can be. What The Brokenhearted Do… is a beautifully constructed 70s-inspired singer/songwriter album.

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