Hawksley Workman - Smoke Baby
It might not be obvious, but I actually had to think a lot about which Hawksley Workman song to post today. Incredibly prolific, Workman's most recent album was released just last year. 'Smoke Baby' is probably his most recognizable hit, but songs like ‘Jealous of Your Cigarette’ and ‘Safe and Sound’ have made various playlists of mine for years. From what I remember, Hawksley Workman always seemed like yet another underrated Canadian artist. Still, I will openly admit that I haven’t heard much from him outside of what has been recommended to me. That being said, Smoke Baby was a song that did get radio play and it has stuck with me all of these years.
The track had pop appeal with a catchy chorus, but it has always rung out as unique. What is strikingly odd about the more popular version of the song is the rap section by fellow Canadian Graph Nobel. Smoke Baby talks about a man’s love for a self-destructive woman but does so with a sense of longing and intrigue. When Graph is introduced to the song, she plays the aforementioned woman, but comes off as belligerent and obnoxious. I understand this is true to the character, but it is somewhat jarring to the rest of the tone of the song. I don’t necessarily think this is a bad choice, but an interesting one. I haven’t decided on which version I like better, but the song is great regardless.