Brad Paisley took a massive hit to his credibility, not to mention his album sales, with 2013’s Wheelhouse.
The harsher blows were due to the ill-advised crapfest ‘Accidental Racist,’ a stab at racial harmony (performed with LL Cool J) that turned out laughably bad and, ironically, a bit racist itself.
But the album’s lack of chart success (relative to Paisley’s astronomical sales numbers up to that point) wasn’t the fault of ‘Accidental Racist.’ It was a sign that Paisley’s increasingly experimental, envelope-pushing approach to country music had finally alienated a sizable portion of his audience.
I picked up a couple of other new releases just last week, as I was chronicling the other four. It’s been a banner month for new music here at Meet Me In Montauk.
Bleachers is the new band fronted by Jack Antonoff, best known as the lead guitarist of fun. Their debut album, Strange Desire, has produced one hit single so far — the blisteringly catchy ‘I Wanna Get Better.’
Elvis Costello’s ‘Monkey to Man’ has always rubbed me the wrong way, for a couple of reasons.
The first is that, as the first single from his solid 2004 album The Delivery Man, it’s a poor representation of that record. It’s a bit too lightweight and jokey for an album that is steeped in dark blues and country tunes.
Surprisingly, this is only my third Squeeze song since I started the Song of the Day series more than six years ago. I would have expected better representation from a band for which I hold a great deal of affection.
The reason, I’m sure, is that I have only one Squeeze album in my iTunes library — 1981’s excellent East Side Story. I have enjoyed other Squeeze albums over the years, including the underrated Play and a greatest hits collection that my principles prevented me from purchasing, but East Side Story has always provided my Squeeze fix.
When I ordered those four new albums a week ago, I didn’t expect my runaway favorite to be Jenny Lewis’ The Voyager.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Jenny Lewis. Her first two solo albums, Rabbit-Fur Coat and Acid Tongue, are sharp, melodic and ambitious. But neither really grabbed me and shook me the way this latest record has.
When it comes to old school guitar-driven rock-n-roll, you can’t get much better than Tom Petty. Through 38 years and 16 albums, he has delivered the goods consistently and expertly.
His latest record, Hypnotic Eye, is performed (as all but three of his albums have been) with The Heartbreakers, and the band’s familiarity with each other and the material shines through on every track. This is as beautifully seasoned as a rock band gets.
Another great find from my recent musical shopping spree, Spoon’s They Want Me Soul is a tight, expertly crafted song cycle — which seems to be par for the course for these guys.
I own only three of the band’s eight albums, but all of them are similarly sparse and effective. Meaty, metronomic drums lay under stabbing electric guitars and front man Britt Daniel’s raspy vocals. It’s a simple sound but somehow one they’ve made their own.