Marissa Nadler

Marissa Nadler

Esperanza: Songs From Jack Kerouac's Tristessa

From AMERICAN SONGWRITER: Imagine a woman sitting in the isolation of her bedroom, strumming the same simple chord progression over and over, belting out lyrics of a love she doesn’t believe she deserves. Marissa Nadler’s “Tristessa’s Song” offers a portrayal of a disheartened, self-loathing young girl in love — and its simplicity only fuels the story’s romantic sorrow.


From the upcoming compilation album Esperanza: Songs From Jack Kerouac’s Tristessa,  Nadler wrote this track from the point of view of the novel’s protagonist, Tristessa, the morphine-addicted prostitute with whom Kerouac falls in love. Taking her own liberties, Nadler “imagined Tristessa was secretly pining over Jack, regardless of her bond to Old Bull Gaines, but had already decided to push him away for fear of rejection.”  Nadler establishes this with a chorus repeating, “I don’t believe I’d love you like you need.”

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