Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Randy Newman sings of the afterlife and history

Randy Newman
Harps and Angels

Harps and Angels reprises a droll, garrulous, heartfelt Crescent City gospel-blues sensibility that longtime Newman fans will happily recognize. The good old boy-struck down by a heart attack, hearing the angel band before copping a pearly gate reprieve-might be the singer himself, or anyone who's confronted the inexorable finality of life as we know it. Newman combines a smart (ass) show-tune sensibility ("A Piece of the Pie," "Laugh and Be Happy") with wry sentimentality ("Losing You," "Feels Like Home"), provocative social commentary ("A Few Words in Defense of Our Country"-in ironic country western mode, with a righteously aggravated Supreme Court critique), the certain fate of rich old men ("Only a Girl"), political incorrectness ("Korean Parents"), senior moments ("Potholes," as in "God bless the potholes down memory lane"), and a prickly finger on the absurd, entropic pulse of the human condition (listener's choice). Harps and angels, hallelujah. - Michael Stone

Available from Amazon.com

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