Close But No Cigaris my quick takes on albums that didn’t make it to my “best of” list this year but are still worth checking out. Some have a great song or two, many are consistently good but not great. Not quite “bridesmaids”, the “cigars” will slot somewhere south of #40 on the list when all is said and done. But that’s just one man’s ears talking. I’m hoping that you find an artist or three that knocks your socks off and/or rediscover something that you passed on earlier.
Part One featured ten albums. Here are ten more, in no particular order…
Randy Newman: Harps and Angels
Oddly, a combination of his early songwriting chops and vocal phrasing and his latter day (read: Disney) arrangements and orchestration. Meaning something for everyone; the approachability of the latter day material with more serious subject matter and wit for the long time fans. On the surface, almost the antithesis of Born Again, but all he’s really done is replace sarcasm with direct hits – Reaganomics still suck. Includes the brilliant “A Few Words In Defense Of Our Country”, a bookend to the early classic “Political Science” (which still resonates 37 years later). Stay away from the Mouse, Randy – we need more albums like this one.
Paul Westerberg: 49 Minutes Of Your Life
See what happens when you offer a new record as a download with no marketing, even a free download? Suffice it to say that by leveraging the release as one long track, Westerberg forces you to think album in a digital single age (oh the irony) and delivers a basement classic that will please both Mats and solo PW fans. It’s messy, it’s semi-derivative in spots, there are snippets of classic tunes and some random meanderings as if you’re along for the ride when his thoughts get clouded. Just like a Replacements concert, only less beer and fistfights.