Song of the Day #1,752: ‘Mary Lynn’ – Michael Penn

mrhollywoodI can’t post a Michael Penn song on this blog without bemoaning his prolonged absence from the music scene.

Today’s track is a bit of Beatles-esque filler from his most recent album, Mr. Hollywood Jr., 1947. That record came out in 2005 — yes, eight years ago!

That’s not a hiatus… that’s retirement.

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Song of the Day #442: ‘On Automatic’ – Michael Penn

mrhollywoodAfter MP4 predictably failed to make a commercial splash, Michael Penn went on his biggest hiatus yet — five years — before releasing Mr. Hollywood, Jr. 1947 in 2005. This was the first of Penn’s albums that struck me off the bat as a disappointment. Not because of the songs, which are up to his usual standards, but because after seven years he delivered an album with a great big hole in its middle — a four-song stretch consisting of a couple of low-key instrumentals and two tracks of ambient noise and transistor radio feedback.

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Song of the Day #183: ‘Walter Reed’ – Michael Penn

pennI feel bad for Michael Penn. Here’s a guy with great songwriting chops and a nice voice who can’t seem to buy a hit. And to top it off, his brother is one of Hollywood’s most celebrated actors and his wife (Aimee Mann), while not a big star by any means, has massive critical respect and indie cred.

On the other hand, he makes a comfortable living at a job he presumably loves so I suppose I should save my pity for somebody worthy of it.

Penn has released five albums, though most people probably lost track of him after 1989’s March. That album featured his only bona fide hit, ‘No Myth’ (featuring the line “What if I was Romeo in black jeans?”), and it was all downhill from there.

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