The March Divide

I wanna hate you. I’m not perfect. Giving up. King of the lost cause. This world is gonna end.

Jared Putnam is a funny guy. No, really, he is. Don’t let the negative words above, which comprise five of the ten song titles on Lost Causes (oops, he did it again!), Putnam’s sixth album as The March Divide, fool you.

Being able to laugh at yourself is one of the tenants of comedy and Putnam’s greatest strength has always been to take his everyman, self-effacing character and wrap it in urgent melodies backed by just-slick-enough production to draw you in and keep you there.

It’s why over the years music critics have called his songs “impressively hooky” (American Songwriter) with “classic pop hooks” (The Big Takeover) where his “pop sensibility comes entirely to the forefront” (Under The Radar).

As a next-door neighbor who you would actually like to know, Putnam doesn’t try to overstay his welcome, either. Even though he is a prolific songwriter, after the release of his appropriately titled fifth album cinc in April of 2021, he figured he was tapped out of ideas for a while.

Instead, he started making the best distillation of his talents to date. As Putnam tells it, inspiration returned as he was just out doing Dad stuff.

“I was driving my kid to school and Gin Blossoms came on the radio. I’m a forever fan of Gin Blossoms, but this was 'Hey Jealousy,' which commercial radio has been running into the ground for 30 years.

“But in that moment, it was the greatest thing I’d ever heard! The hooks, the subject matter, and all the rest were as they’d always been, but I was struck by how it was put together. In that moment, that’s what made the song great.”

Putnam has spent years deconstructing pop songs in an attempt to discover the formula. This “Hey Jealousy” epiphany may have been destined, because the blueprint of the connection Putnam realized while just doing Daddy duty allowed him to build Lost Causes.

“I’ve always been fascinated with dissecting what makes a song great and trying to find the catalyst for the chemical reaction that emotionally connects us to where a handful of tunes are run into the ground for 30 years,” he says of the rarefied air that a timeless hit song occupies.

Joining Putnam under The March Divide banner for Lost Causes are friends Ernie Garcia (long-time player with El Vez and Javier Escovedo) on bass and Jason West on drums.

“Our mutual love of Cheap Trick has always made Jason the perfect drummer for my songs,” Putnam says. Lost Causes was mixed and mastered by Mike Major (At The Drive-In, Coheed and Cambria.)

Mike also produced a lot of great bands around the southwest,” Putnam explains. “It wasn’t lost on me that Gin Blossoms are from Tempe and have a very staple southwestern sound. Mike knew what I was going for.”

Lyrically, the songs on Lost Causes pick up where the last single from Putnam’s previous album left off. At the time, he had started to write in a more stream of consciousness style, even making a promise to himself not to change his words.

“It’s pretty satisfying to just say what you want to say, without worrying about how cool it sounds,” he said at the time.

This is why Putnam’s humor shines brighter than ever on Lost Causes.

I wanna hate you. I’m not perfect. Giving up. King of the lost cause. This world is gonna end.

We have all felt these things, but putting them in song, or voicing them at all could seem whiney or at least cynical and pessimistic.

Not so, with Putnam, who has become a master of this somewhat sarcastic craft. Instead, these songs are relatable confessions in a candy coating.

“Writing sad songs about utter loneliness comes very naturally to me,” he says. “These kinds of songs are very therapeutic for me to write.”

These sad songs are the ones that most connect with Putnam’s growing audience, especially those overseas that have propelled tunes such as his 2019 release “Secrets,” to just-shy of a million Spotify spins.

I'm Not Perfect,” the first single from Lost Causes, started out as one of these “downer” tunes, but in sharing his early demo with his collaborators, Putnam was pushed to make it more, while keeping what makes it The March Divide. The tune opens Lost Causes and is a total success.

“Even though writing these types of songs is therapeutic for me, it’s also a rut,” Putnam says. “Emotionally, I got so much more out of working on "I'm Not Perfect‟ by working with others. I’m hopeful that the fans who crave these songs from me will too. Maybe we can all get out of our sad bastard rut together.”

He’s a funny guy.

Lost Causes, the sixth album by The March Divide, arrives on June 10th via Slow Start Records preceded by the singles “I'm Not Perfect” (March 18th), “Tension In The Air” (April 8th), “I Wanna Hate You” (April 29th), and “King of The Lost Cause” (May 20th).