Mark Lanegan composed his upcoming album, Straight Songs of Sorrow, as a companion piece to his gritty memoir, Sing Backwards and Weep, which chronicles his drug use and time in Screaming Trees in the Eighties and Nineties.
Wednesday, he dropped “Stockholm City Blues,” which finds him looking back regretfully on a visit to Sweden’s capital, feeling junk sick late at night. “I pay for this pain I’m running through my blood,” he sings somberly over loosely plucked acoustic guitar and cinematic strings. “You couldn’t ever tell me when enough’s enough.” The album is due out May 8th, a week after the April 28th release of the book.
“Writing the book, I didn’t get catharsis,” Lanegan said in a statement. “All I got was a Pandora’s box full of pain and misery. I went way in and remembered shit I’d put away 20 years ago. But I started writing these songs the minute I was done, and I realized there was a depth of emotion because they were all linked to memories from this book. It was a relief to suddenly go back to music. Then I realized that was the gift of the book: these songs. I’m really proud of this record.”
In addition to the book and album, Lanegan has also created an online portal called The Vault that compiles all of his recordings going back to 1984. His fans can connect to the music — including playlists made by Guns N’ Roses’ Duff McKagan, former Joy Division and New Order bassist Peter Hook and Primal Scream’s Bobbie Gillespie — via Spotify and Apple Music.