Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Randy Newman is back with maybe the best album he's done in a couple decades. For a while, it seemed he'd gotten sucked into the animation soundtrack whirlpool and we'd never again see the brilliance of "Sail Away" and "Political Science" and "Rednecks."

In the new album, "Harps and Angels," Randy takes on America. There are songs about the president, and immigrants, and the economy--politics mix with ballads, and stories are told by unreliable narrators. Entire states may not get this album. Irony and satire don't work in certain zip codes and voting precincts, but that's all right. We're hip. We knew he didn't really want to bomb the rest of the world ("Boom goes London, boom Paree") that he really wasn't an antisemitic redneck ("Last night I saw Lester Maddox on the TV show, with some smart ass New York Jew") and that he really didn't want short people to die ("short people got no reason to live..."). Or did he?

Maybe we're too dumb for satire. Maybe we're a little gun shy, sitting on this powderkeg with Randy Newman flicking lit matches at us.

I hope not.

For the New York Times review of the new album, click HERE.

Jonathan Swift, satirical bastard

For extra credit, read "A Modest Proposal For Preventing The Children Of Poor People In Ireland Being A Burden To Their Parents Or Country, And For Making Them Beneficial To The Public" by Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) For Swift, click HERE.

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