Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Listening Notes: 1983 Part 3

Aztec Camera - High Land, Hard Rain

The charm of Roddy Frame's precocity hasn't aged as well as I'd hoped. Or maybe the humorless yearning in the songs doesn't speak to my middle aged self the way they did to the younger version of me. Good tunes, well sung, but I'm not that guy anymore.

John Anderson - All the People Are Talking

Did you know the hit country song country off this album was co-written by Robert Altman? And it was only a hit when DJs started playing as Warners didn't think it was a single. Great singer, but he was never good looking enough to sustain a career when the material wasn't there. The material's mostly here this time.

X - More Fun In the New World

The first song declares it was better before they voted for what's-his-name, and if that doesn't sum up the bohemian attitude in 1983, I don't know what does (especially the pronoun). They're not as passionate about discovering the new world as they were about falling in and out of love. So, sure, it wasn't more fun, it was less fun. The trick was not to let it take a piece out of your music.

John Hiatt - Riding With the King

When I wish Marshall Crenshaw would show more interest in lyrics, I don't want to take up the tricks of hack songwriters - the clever lists, the tricky reversals, the borrowings from advertising. I don't want him to sound like John Hiatt. I don't hate any of these songs. Hiatt's not a terrible singer. But, by about the fourth song, I felt I was listening to a songwriter's demo tape. I used to like this album, but now I don't even try.