The White Buffalo tees up issues of insecurity and fear and then resolves them all, in under five minutes, in the ambitious new track “Problem Solution.” It’s a majestic yin-and-yang composition and is the latest release from the singer-songwriter’s upcoming album On the Widow’s Walk.
“This is a song in two parts about mental states,” says Jake Smith, the Oregon musician behind the White Buffalo moniker. “The first half, ‘Problem,’ is about heartbreak and self-doubt when things are bleak and hopeless. The abrupt release and uplift into the second movement, ‘Solution,’ is the answer, about living in the moment and getting through the day.a
It’s an appropriately at-odds song for our current moment, with the first half a cacophonous bang of instruments and uncertainty. “What’s wrong with your heart?” Smith asks, before promising that “Life is gonna break your balls.” But at the midpoint, “A Day in the Life”-like piano comes in, signaling a change of sonic direction, of mindset, and of fortune. It’s peak Shooter Jennings, who produced the album and is known for musically adventurous LPs like his own Black Ribbons and Countach (For Giorgio). In the end, the White Buffalo implores us to just “get through the day,” suggesting that mental health is not some broad future goal, but an ongoing daily task.
On the Widow’s Walk, the White Buffalo’s seventh studio LP, will be released April 17th.