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Brandon Jenkins ‘Tattoo Tears’ – Song Review

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Brandon Jenkins may be best known for his edgy, occasionally expletive-laden songs, but if that’s all you know about the Red Dirt legend, you’re missing out on a lot of what makes Jenkins an all-time great singer/songwriter. From his latest CD, ‘Through the Fire’, Brandon shows off a deep, emotional side with his single, ‘Tattoo Tears’.

The mood of this song is set from the start, opening with some delicate acoustic guitar. Then Jenkins’ vocals let us know the seriousness of the story. Without paying attention to a word, the mood is already established. But the lyrics are impossible to ignore:

There’s a place in heart where my soul use to be
Back before you went away, you were suppose to take care of me
You Left me here all alone, to fend for myself
I guess I learned it all from you, I never cared for anyone else

The chorus brings the story into the present seamlessly. It automatically makes me curious as to what actions have accompanied our sad friend’s emotions.

There once was a time, I believed all your lies
I never cried for you, kept the tears down inside
After All the pain I felt, and hid for all those years
I never let my feelings show
Now I’m crying tattoo tears, I’m crying tattoo tears
I’m crying tattoo tears, I’m crying tattoo tears

That has me on the edge of my seat, wondering where the story goes. The lyrics have my attention, and the sincerity in the music and vocals keep me fixed, like great songs do.

The needle tears a hole and puts the ink down inside
Where it never comes out again, it’ll be there when I die
Like the scars that you left, and the dreams you laid to waste
Left it bitter in my mouth, so strong that I could taste

After a second time through the chorus, and a fittingly understated solo, the 3rd visit to the chorus is slightly different. And really clever:

There once was a time, I fell for all your lies
I used to pray for you, kept the tears down inside
After All the pain I felt, and hid for all those years
I never let my feelings show
Now I’m crying tattoo tears, I’m crying tattoo tears
I’m crying tattoo tears, I’m crying tattoo tears

There are plenty songs about heartache, sadness and lost love. But ‘Tattoo Tears’ reaches a level of feeling that you rarely find in the rest.This song is sad, deep, desperate and beautiful.

Brandon Jenkins – Tattoo Tears

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A tattoo tear isn’t supposed to symbolize anything in particular, but they’re commonly thought of as a mark that the wearer has killed someone. Whether that is the fate of the subject in the song ‘Tattoo Tears’ is left to you to decide. I’m going to think metaphorically, and assume that a part of the character in the song died, and his tattoo tears tell us that he is permanently marked from the pain brought on from this lost love. I’m positive like that, and I’ll only let Brandon Jenkins himself correct me if I’ve over-analyzed his song wrong.

A lot of people can write a great song. A lot of people can sing a great song. What Brandon Jenkins can do goes beyond all of that. I will forever be a fan, because this guy writes songs that are great, then takes it to another level with his ability to pour all kinds of soul and emotion from his voice. ‘Tattoo Tears’ is a prime example.

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