With its Alan Jackson guitar twang and some dreamy pedal steel, Elijah Ocean’s new song “Thirty-Five” is straight out of a Nineties jukebox. The rambling singer-songwriter and Maine native, who landed in Nashville after detours in Brooklyn and L.A., released the song on Monday as the first taste of his upcoming album Born Blue.
Ocean taps into Rodney Crowell territory with the lyrics, evoking an “I Ain’t Living Long Like This” message with his own tale of regret and regression. “I’m thirty-five, acting twenty-two/I don’t know how I’m still alive living the way I do,” he sings. “Way past my prime and long overdue, I’m thirty-five, acting twenty-two.” Ocean wrote “Thirty-Five,” which features Brent Mason on guitar, in a Las Vegas hotel room while licking his wounds from a beating at the blackjack tables.
Born Blue is the follow-up to Ocean’s 2020 album Blue Jeans & Barstools, a record that included another song born of a gambling bust: “Cleaned Up in Vegas” detailed Ocean’s attempts to grow up and get straight after losing his wallet. Judging by “Thirty-Five,” however, those efforts failed.
Here’s the track list for Ocean’s Born Blue:
- “Livin’ to Love You”
- “In a Perfect World”
- “Honky Tonk Hole”
- “The Ice Machine”
- “Let’s Call It a Night”
- “Born Blue”
- “A Chip Off the Barroom Floor”
- “Time on My Hands”
- “The Writing on the Wall”
- “Losin’ My Mem’ry”
- “The Long Haul”