The third of the "sung recitation" albums, Worthless Recluse is actually quite a different creature from the two albums that preceded it. For one, it divides the album between descriptive scenes that may be reminiscent of the artist's life and bizarre, sometimes "sing-songy" quickies that use odd imagery. Examples of the former include "Into the Cave" and "Out of the Cave," connected narrative pieces that occasionally lapse into the surreal, yet contain concrete lines about an escape into the wild like, "Must have seen four people in three days/you had to protect your head at night from the mosquitoes."
As with the other two a cappella albums, this one appears to have been recorded on a voice-activated tape recorder, not unlike what Captain Beefheart does at times on Trout Mask Replica. At one point the narrator says/sings, "The supermarkets are always jam packed, the acceptable way/I got a big frame, born with it, sure do need a side of beef/42 heads of lettuce, 888 potatoes/and all the apple pies my Mack truck can drive away with." These lyrics are from the title track, which occasionally steers away from such oddities by talking about such day-to-day objects as a new house with "cracks in the walls/wind whistling." Throughout, the narrator recounts better nights lying next to a loved one, and this is something he seems to want back. Though nearly as long as some of tracks on the two preceding albums, lack of repetition and the interesting lyrics give the track a surprising sense of motion.
The rest of the "songs" go by in a blur - some veering to more disturbing places ("Oh you lofty rider/all peppery and gawk/you make me feel like mercury/out for a liquid walk" or "You wake up deadmen/with your loose sex/you shout at them, C’mon/and as they fumble in half-delirium/you smash them back down dead"). At the end of the album the vocalist regains his strengths and swears he's going to "knock you out." Angry at the object of his devotion? Hard to say, but it is the last note of a unique trilogy. From here the guitar and "sung" vocals would return, but they would be something quite different from what had come before.