Lucero's twelfth album 'Should've Learned by Now' is out today via Liberty & Lament/Thirty Tigers. For a deeper dive into the album, singer/songwriter Ben Nichols has given us a track-by-track breakdown. Take it away, Ben...

Alright! Should’ve Learned by Now is the latest album from Lucero. It was written with a certain amount of abandon and fuck it all. After two albums of intentionally dark and brooding songs, it was time to venture back into straightforward fun-loving rock&roll. There’s a certain attitude that runs through the album… the “we should have learned but we haven’t and we’re gonna keep going anyway” kind of attitude. It was a fun record to make. Back to basics for Lucero. Embracing the catchy riffs and the simple lyrics. Trying not to overthink it this time. Thanks for listening y’all.


“One Last Fuck You” is the oldest song on the record. In fact it kind of inspired the whole album. I wrote it way back during the Among the Ghosts sessions but it was just too abrasive and goofy and fun for that album or even the next album. It needed an album of its own. So I went about tracking down all the fun rock&roll guitar parts stacking up in my voice memo app on my phone (that I didn’t think were serious enough for the last two albums) and dragging them out and dusting them off and writing lyrics that didn’t have to be good just not too dumb. Had a blast writing these songs. When the first song on the album is titled “One Last Fuck You” you can kinda go anywhere you want with the rest of the record after that. Nothing is off limits then.


I’ve been telling everyone that we outran a hurricane once. That’s a lie. We’ve outrun three hurricanes over the years. And four tornadoes and two floods. Too many blizzards to count. No earthquakes or volcanoes yet but we aren’t stopping anytime soon so who knows. But “Macon If We Make It” is about the hurricane we outran in Georgia. It gets it’s own song because the words “Macon” and “Make it” just sound great together.


“She Leads Me” was a newer guitar part that I stumbled across while trying to finish the other songs. I don’t know exactly where I’m being led, but it has to be better than where I’ve been. It’s a little silly but I can’t help thinking about my wife when I sing this one. We haven’t used a lot of backing vocals in the past but Jesse Davis and Cory Branan added a lot to the song with their voices.


This songs sums up the nostalgic feeling I have while thinking back on the early days around the time the band started. I was driving back and forth between Memphis and Little Rock, going to shows in one town or the other almost every night of the week. Seeing great bands, seeing the person you have a crush on, singing along. We were all kids. The audience was all kids, the bands were all kids, the people running the venues were mainly kids. I still play plenty of shows but it’s different than it used to be, and it’s always nice thinking back on how exciting everything was back then.


Another catchy, upbeat guitar part, “Nothing’s Alright” is about reconciling oneself to the way things are and being okay with it. I like that the phrase “nothing’s alright” can be taken two ways: 1. Everything is bad or 2. I’m okay with getting nothing. It’s left up to the listener to decide which one is in the song. Or maybe the song starts off with it one way and ends up the other way by the end. Let’s go with that.


This song has my favorite chorus on the album. By itself, the line “It’s been raining here for weeks” is nothing special. But in context it really hits me. Things have been going wrong and once you realize it you can’t even tell how long it’s been going wrong for. Musically it’s a unique kind of song for Lucero. But lyrically it might be the most “Lucero” song on the record. It’s hard to beat catchy AND sad.


This has become one of my favorite songs to play every night. It might be the most serious song on the record, but it’s got such a great rock&roll feel that I think it fits in just fine as part of the album. This was the first song I wrote for this batch of songs and not for another record. We stumbled across the piano breakdown in the last chorus by accident while we were recording Cory Branan’s excellent back-up vocals. One of my favorite moments on the record.


This is another guitar part written right after When You Found Me, but it was the very last batch of lyrics I wrote and therefore the last song to be finished. The record was scheduled to be mastered and I had to sing these on my computer and send them to Matt Ross-Spang in Memphis so he could tighten them up and make them tonally match the rest of the album. That’s how last minute these lyrics were. But it got us a great album title! The lyrics to this song might be even more surly than “One Last Fuck You”.


The first bit I had for “Drunken Moon” was the chorus melody and I just had to find some lyrics that fit on there. I tried all sorts of stuff and finally stumbled across “by the light of a drunken moon”. I have no idea what it means but it sounds nice, seemed to fit our theme. Musically I feel like this could’ve shown up on any Lucero record, even The Attic Tapes. This song boils what Lucero does down to its raw elements. It’s a nice way to lead into “Time to Go Home” as well.


When I wrote “Time to Go Home” I planned on putting it at the end of When You Found Me because I thought the title was perfect for an album’s closing song. But it just wasn’t the right type of song to fit on that record. So along with “One Last F.U.” it went into limbo until I could write some more stuff that matched it. It was nice going into the new album knowing I’d start it off with “One Last F.U.” and close the album with “Time to Go Home”. I had a beginning and an end, all I had to do was write eight more songs to go in between. The cover-art I did for the single-version of this song was a drawing of the old Buccaneer Tavern in Memphis after it burned but before they tore it down. I spent a lot of time there in the old days and that’s kinda where I see this song taking place. Miss that bar. And by the way, the single version we released a couple years ago is alright I guess… but the version on this album is a lot better in my opinion. It finally settled down into the end-of-the-night-ballad it was always supposed to be. Always great to hear Rick on accordion as well.


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