Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Listening Notes: John Lennon, Kevin Coyne, Teddybears

John Lennon - Gimme Some Truth

Box sets that try to rethink an artist's oeuvre run the risk of obscuring the artist's strengths. Lennon was a terrific singer and a reasonably intelligent man. Sorting his songs into a political disc and a son/lover disc makes the songs seem too schematic. The living disc is more random. The covers disc has some awful arrangements. So, good songs, pointless box set.

Kevin Coyne - I Want My Crown

This is the box set for someone I'd barely heard. I thought I'd like it more than I did. There's too much confrontation and not enough pleasure in the songs, and this gets more pronounced the farther along in the seventies the set goes. Commercial frustration? Drink? Coyne was a social worker before he was a singer/songwriter, and in one all too memorable song he sings about a charge of his, a fat girl who committed suicide. I can understand why that would obsess him, but he wants to drag the audience into the guilt as well. Sorry, I've got enough of my own to be guilty about.

Teddybears - Devils Music

Big, dumb and fun. There isn't as good a song here as "Yours to Keep" (with Neneh Cherry, where have you gone Neneh Cherry?) from the last album, but Robyn can give me a heart attack anytime.