There’s a lot of really terrible people out there. Luckily for us, Randy Newman has their number. There’s never been an artist who knows exactly how to take what it is about someone that makes them awful (or at least, ignorant) and turn it into a song with more bite than anything. His music is the perfect combination of sardonic wit mixed with lush arrangements that fit whatever style or mood he’s going for.
"My Life is Good" is not dry at all. It’s pretty clear that the subject of the tune is a joke and an entitled piece of shit from the get-go. Still, it’s essential to note that one of the things Newman does best is lend a voice to these people even if they don’t need or deserve it. The characters in his songs are so vivid that you can just picture them in the room with you, making your life worse by the moment just by existing.
You can clearly picture the man in “My Life is Good” telling you all about every single instance that he’s better than you, past, present, and future. There’s the time he brought a young woman back from Mexico specifically for the purposes of doing all of his chores for him. He’s so proud of himself, thinking he’s doing her a favor. The time he told off a teacher for politely informing him that his child is physically hurting the other children. How he plans to give one of his young associates’ wives a “poke or two” when they come into town. You can almost feel the spit coming out of his mouth and hitting you in the face as he pounds the table in the middle of his story.
The best part of the tune is when he recounts the time he met Mr. Bruce Springsteen. Whether or not he actually met him is up for debate, but he tells it with so much a sneering bravado that you can’t help but hate him. The music in this section starts out with this repeating bassline from the piano which builds the tension until the thirteenth bar when it changes to a repeated figure in the upper register that almost sounds like the laughter of someone who just won’t shut up. By the time he ends the ridiculous story about the time Springsteen told him “Rand, I’m tired. How would you like to be the boss for a while?” he’s already in the middle of his own fantasy where he’s the one telling Clarence Clemons “blow, big man!”
All of the songs on Trouble in Paradise seem to have a pretty big emphasis on the and of four. This tune is no different. Listen for the open high hat hits and heavy guitar power chords on the and of four throughout.