Hi, How Are You is a 1983 Daniel Johnston album. It's generally seen as one of his most popular albums and was his first cassette tape to receive a wider release. Still it contains less material than his other tapes because Johnston suffered a Creator Breakdown and didn't want to finish the album.
The album is best known for the song "Walking The Cow", which has been covered by Pearl Jam, TV on the Radio, A Camp, Kathy McCarty (Glass Eye) and updated by Johnston himself on his album "Beam Me Up" (2010). Kurt Cobain was once photographed wearing a T-shirt featuring the album cover image.
Tape Side One
- "Poor You" (2:03)
- "Big Business Monkey" (2:02)
- "Walking The Cow" (3:37)
- "I Picture Myself With A Guitar" (0:44)
- "Despair Came Knocking" (2:44)
- "I Am A Baby (In My Universe)" (1:38)
- "Nervous Love" (0:18)
- "I'll Never Marry" (0:20)
- "Get Yourself Together" (0:29)
- "Running Water" (1:32)
Tape Side Two (Unfinished)
- "Desperate Man Blues" (3:39)
- "Hey Joe" (2:44)
- "She Called Pest Control" (0:52)
- "Keep Punching Joe" (3:11)
- "No More Pushing Joe Around" (0:34)
Despair Came Troping
- A Cappella: "Hi, How Are You?" and "She Called Pest Control".
- Accentuate the Negative: Most of the songs are about love sickness, despair and/or alienation. Nowhere summed up better than in "Big Business Man".Everything you cling to will rotAnd everything you do will be forgotBy everyone you ever tried to impress
- Album Title Drop: Right from the start Johnston welcomes us: "Hi, how are you?"
- Arc Words: The sentence "Hi, how are you?" returns a few times throughout the album.
- Continuity Nod: "Hey Joe", "Keep Punching Joe" and "No More Pushing Joe Around".
Listen, folks, I gotta tell you nowI've been singing the blues and walking the cowI tell you my soul's like running waterHot or cold now one or the other''(...) Dial "P" for "Pest Control".
- "Hey Joe" also has a line "I know you're thinking of your nervous love", referring to the earlier track "Nervous Love".
- "Keep Punching Joe" has a Call-Back to the earlier songs "Walking The Cow", "Running Water" and "She Called Pest Control".
- After "No More Punching Joe Around" a melodical medley of all the previous songs is heard.
- Covers Always Lie: With a happy album title like that you wouldn't expect it to be a gloomy record at all.
- Cut Short: As with many of Daniel's early albums many tracks are abruptly cut short. In this case even the entire album project remained unfinished, because of his mental breakdown.
- Deliberately Monochrome: The album cover.
- Design Student's Orgasm: Johnston drew the album cover himself.
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: "Running Water"And you never change no matter what you doYou always wind up the same, never knowing where you goAlways running, never stopping to see where you are at
- Fading into the Next Song: Typical as most of it was recorded on cassette.
- Foreshadowing: "She Called Pest Control"She wore western-style bootsForeshadowing things to come
- Funny Animal: The frog on the album cover.
- I Love the Dead: "I'll Never Marry"I'll never marry, I'll never wedNobody wants to kiss you when you're deadNobody wants to lie in bed with youWhen your flesh is rotting
- Immortality: "I Am A Baby (In My Universe)" where the protagonist sings he is "only 22 and I'll live forever."
- In the Style of...: "Keep Punching Joe" is done in the style of a jolly crooner.
- Love Hurts: "I Picture Myself With A Guitar", "Despair Came Knocking", "Nervous Love", "I'll Never Marry".
- Lyrical Dissonance: "Keep Punching Joe", which is sang in the style of a jolly crooner, but addresses Daniel's mental problems and a character named Joe who ought to be punched.
- Miniscule Rocking:
- "Nervous Love", "I'll Never Marry and "I Picture Myself With A Guitar", all under a minute long.
- Pep-Talk Song: "Get Yourself Together" and "Hey Joe" which is clearly inspired more by "Hey Jude" by The Beatles when you hear the lyrics than "Hey Joe" by Jimi Hendrix.Hey Jude, come on, JoeDon't make that sad songAny sadder than it already is
- Real Life Writes the Plot: "Poor You" addresses Daniel's mental state. "Big Business Man" refers to his bad experiences while working in a fast food chain. Daniel lampshades his mental breakdown in "Keep Punching Joe"I guess I lean toward the excessiveBut that's just the way it isWhen you're a manic depressive(...) Let me tell you now it's been a long hard summerAnd I feel every bit, every bit more dumber.
- Self-Backing Vocalist: "No More Punching Joe Around" has Daniel singing a duet with himself on a pre-recorded tape.
- Singer Name Drop: "Keep Punching Joe".Ladies and gentlemenHe headed out West looking for the bestAnd he's here tonight because he's got a lot to get off his chestHere he is, ladies and gentlemenNone other than Daniel D. Johnston
- Shout-Out: "Hey Joe" lyrically references "Hey Jude" by The Beatles from Magical Mystery Tour.
- Something Blues: "Desperate Man Blues".
- Stock Sound Effects: Near the end of "Big Business Man" a recording of an animal sounds toy for babies can be heard. In "Running Water" running water can be heard. "Desperate Man Blues" and "Keep Punching Joe" are sang while a jazz instrumenal by Johnny Dankworth is playing in the background. After "Keep Punching Joe" a sound recording of a film is heard boasting about "the greatest adventure of a lifetime".
- This Loser Is You: "Poor You", which is in Second-Person Narration.
- Wham Line: "Keep Punching Joe"How am I supposed to give loveIf I never got love?
- Word Salad Lyrics: "She Called Pest Control".
- Worrying for the Wrong Reason: "Nervous Love"I got a nervous loveI got a nervous loveWorrying's all that I do