MTV.com, in reporting on Sea Change’s upcoming release, referred to “Lost Cause” as “sparse and melancholy, driven by a folksy guitar passage and soft, sedated vocals and embellished with soft brush drumming.” That’s pretty accurate. This was the “single” for the album, as there was a video made, and Beck performed it on David Letterman’s show, Conan O’Brien’s show, and Jay Leno’s show, as well as Saturday Night Live.
The interesting twist on this “break-up” song is all the people watching you, from the “sorry eyes” not allowing for any privacy. Beck allowed in one interview that this was a reference to Los Angeles (“this town is crazy / nobody cares”). (“Yeah, it’s an L.A. line,” he says regretfully. “I wanted to take that line out, but I was too lazy. It is, though. People are very, I don’t know, blasé.”) The third verse builds on that a bit, where it becomes clear that though people are always watching, they’re rarely supportive.