New album from T-Bone Burnett after time away relaxing at home after three years since his last album in 1992. In contrast to the previous records this album is more simplex and has a more direct approach. Many of the songs titles are in reference to … see full wiki
Having been casually aware of T. Bone Burnett's work through his film scoring and frequent collaborations with Elvis Costello, "Criminal" was an easy used record store grab - a four dollar experiment with literally no downside.
Nothing short of a defibrillator to the chest could have preprared me for the scope and power of Burnett's virtuoso stroll through whatever it is that he took a virtuoso stroll through - alternately wrapping his tales of corroded love and pervasive delusion in the visage of Ziggy Stardust, Warren Zevon or Iggy Pop with no hint of conceit or mimicry. Burnett goes light years beyond the Bayou authoring a vision that is a steely-eyed synthesis of folk, power pop and glam-punk all fused into a singular, sneering body slam against the social and self-created idiocracy that we all live with day-to-day.
Consistent with his reputation, "Criminal" is a sonic masterwork forgiving no hint of production flaws of any kind. As many reviewers have said, it is beyond comprehension why this record came and went like a wraith with no critical notice whatsoever. It is as moving, powerful and unexpected as any cd in recent memory.
I would suspect that the absence of critical notice stems from the lack of tidiness that a work so broadly challenging represents. There is no greater sin within an industry so rigidly boxed by format and genre than to have an artist offering no boundaries or convention beyond the goal of sheer excellence. One for the ages... good luck finding a copy!
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