Standout Track: No. 2, “Hard Labour,” an ode to a pretty boy’s life that borrows its name from Mike Leigh’s 1973 television film. “Ugly people, there’s a lot of them/And I haven’t got the luxury of the bomb,” sings Alex Minoff, winkingly. “So all that’s left is to live my life like a painting, or a song.” His sprightly guitar playing sounds like classic Minoff—years performing pan-African-influenced music in Golden and Extra Golden refined his trademark wizard licks. “I’ve sort of invented my own style,” he says. “It’s hard for me to not play that way.”
Musical Motivation: “Lyrically, it’s kind of like a response to perceived personal criticism that I’ve received from people,” says the LeDroit Park resident, who’s 38. “It goes back to even just growing up.” Turns out Minoff, a clean-cut guy with a taste for vintage-cut jackets, was called “faggot” in high school. So “Hard Labour” is partly a “fuck you” to the philistines who fail to understand his style. But the bomb line is also about finding artistic purpose. “I don’t have the constant threat of nuclear elimination hanging over me, like artists did during the Cold War,” he says. “Thus, the search for meaning continues.”
Bro Tip: Toward the end of the song, Minoff throws in a made-up encounter with a wise Clark Gable—a well-dressed man whose virility few would question. “He said you’ll never make anyone happy, and life is just playing a part,” he sings. “And if you wanna be a man like me, you’ve gotta treat your life like art.”
Alex Minoff plays Nov. 30 at the Black Cat.