There is a music genre out there that I am increasingly becoming a fan of called murder folk and one of the biggest front runners of that genre is a man that goes by the name Amigo the Devil. I have been a fan of his since hearing the serial killer-centric songs from Volume 1. Songs like “Hell and You,” “One Kind of People,” and “Dahmer Does Hollywood” hooked me immediately. In 2018, Amigo the Devil released another album called Everything is Fine and has been on a world tour for the last couple of months that will continue until Spring of 2020. I’m here to tell you why you should be listening to him immediately.
Amigo the Devil is one man named Danny K. and he has a style that is like bluegrass for Goths and metal heads. He has the ability to make kicky songs that you can sing to with very dark themes. Maybe you don’t want the upbeat songs? Amigo the Devil has some solemn ballads about mental health or why he hopes your husband dies. I am willing to bet that after one song, you will be just as hooked as I am. In celebration of the world tour, I wanted to look at the album, Everything is Fine along with some of my earlier favorite songs to see how this album stacks up and why I think you should give it a listen.
I will make it easy and we will explore Everything is Fine in order and first up is the song that holds the album’s namesake: “Cocaine and Abel.” Now, the name of the song isn’t anything I haven’t heard before but this one hits you right in the feels. Danny writes all of the music for Amigo the Devil and he is a tremendous songwriter. The lyrics, “everything is fine,” holds a lot of meaning within the context of the entire song. It is dark and solemn and a smooth start to the album.
Next is the jaunty “If I’m Crazy” about someone who just may be insane but also in love. The world sees him as crazy but he has his eyes set on someone. It’s hard to tell if this one is terrifying or romantic or maybe a little bit of both. I will say that this one is best experiences live as Amigo the Devil really gets into it and when he sings with everything he has, it gets really intense…but I like it.
The next song on Everything is Fine is one that starts off so romantically. “You’re Perfect Too” seems like a whirlwind love song but as the song progresses it turns from love into paranoia and violence.The music itself reaches a fever pitch of horns, intense drums and quivering vocals. The cacophony screeches to a halt for the last few seconds of the song, essentially taking you on a rollercoaster.
There was a band that I listened to in high school called Creature Feature…this song is called “Preacher Feature.” They aren’t related, I just thought it was interesting. As this song starts, it sounds just like old country music like Waylon Jennings or Conway Twitty. My family listened to music like that so I did a double take when the song started. No matter how retro this song sounds, it is so very dark as it follows a preacher who gave into his demons and god forgot him. Not your average old timey country song, indeed.
This next song by Amigo the Devil didn’t debut on Everything is Fine but I am glad it was included. This was one of the first songs that I ever heard by this artist and it’s what got me hooked to the music. “Hell and You” is darkly romantic about a man that would follow a woman anywhere, even to Hell to rot with her. While the album version is great and bouncy, my favorite version of this song involves just Danny and his banjo in a grotto. As he sings, his voice echoes off the walls for a quiet and haunting rendition.
“I Hope Your Husband Dies” is another song that got me hooked to Amigo the Devil. Danny does unconventional romantic music extremely well and this song is no exception. This one is about a man who loves a woman but missed his chance and now she’s married. He won’t lead her astray but he quietly wishes that the husband messes up or straight up just dies. It’s sad and beautiful and really fun to sing to. This is one of my favorites on the album.
“Capture” is a fun size instrumental interlude showing off Danny’s fantastic strumming abilities on the banjo. I do wish this one was longer because it reminds me of summers in the hills of the Ozarks. “Hungover in Jonestown” sounds like it would be about the Jonestown massacre however it’s more metaphorical than that. For as dark and hopeless as this song is, it has quite a danceable beat to it. Even with the kicky tunes, the lyrics illustrate the darkness of power and manipulation.
I will warn you now, “First Day of the End of My Life” is about suicide. I heard that Danny used to collect suicide notes to see if there was a connection he could made between them all and he never could but it led him to a dark place. That dark place led to this song which is a suicide note. Suicide affects many families, my own included, so this song hits right in my chest. Even if the world feels like a hopeless place, please remember there is light and people who care, even if you don’t know them yet. If you ever have feelings of suicide or self harm, please call 1-800-273-8255. There is always someone out there to reach a hand out.
I LOVE “The Liar’s Club.” I swear, no two Amigo the Devil songs sound the same and this one is sweeping and haunting with Spanish influences. While the subject matter is just as dark as all that came before it, it’s the instrumental bits that make this one standout along with really showing Danny’s vocal range. He has a lovely voice and this song gives him a chance to show it off.
“Everyone Gets Left Behind” is not my favorite on Everything is Fine. While the beat is good and almost feels like Doo-Wop in a way, it just makes Amigo the Devil sound like every other indie artist out there and that is the opposite of what he is. I prefer his darker, more bluegrass sounding fare opposed to pieces like this one.
Amigo the Devil has this insane way of tricking you. You think the song is about something sweet and heartbreaking and then boom, you realize it’s terrifying. That’s the case with “The Dreamer” which first appeared on Volume 1. You think it’s about this guy in love and I guess technically it is, but when you hear that if he can’t have her, no one can, it gets dark really fast. This is the Amigo the Devil style that we know and love but it helps that this was from his first album.
“Release” is just another one of those short, little transition pieces of audio and this one is really just tones, so MOVING ON! “Edmund Temper” is another one of those songs that is utterly and beautifully Amigo the Devil. It’s folksy, intense and dark with incredible vocals and huge emotion that will take you on a rollercoaster ride through the whole song. This one is another big win on the album.
We finally made it to the last song! I was super surprised just how many songs were on Everything is Fine. While there are a few that were repeats from Volume 1, most of these are new tracks and all of them are like individual snowflakes. The last song is “Stronger than Dead.” This sounds like something you would listen to while driving on a long, straight road through a burning desert in a convertible. Songs like this reminds me of the City and Colour Bring Me Your Love style where it’s just a man, a guitar and a beautiful voice.
All in all, Amigo the Devil’s sophomore album, Everything is Fine, was incredible. There were some songs that weren’t my favorite but for the most part, Amigo the Devil has his distinct style and he is true to it. His voice is soothing and lovely at one moment then intense and quivering at others and I love the range. His songs are romantic and emotional or dark and terrifying and every one of them is like a new adventure. If you can see him live, I HIGHLY recommend it. His songs shine when performed live and I prefer most live versions to their album counterparts. While his American tour has only two more dates before he heads to Europe, he will be back in the States touring beginning in March. I hope to experience his show live and share my experience! Everything is Fine is available to listen to now on physical copies and nearly all music streaming services including Spotify and iTunes.