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randy newman

1 rating: 5.0
Born Again

Born Again is the sixth album by American composer Randy Newman. It has been generally received by critics as one of the low points in his catalog, though fans were much more merciful with their opinions. Several tracks, including the thumping blues … see full wiki

Tags: Music, 1970s
1 review about randy newman

A Mini Masterpiece!

  • Oct 5, 2010
Rating:
+5

From the opening chords of Sail Away in which Randy Newman translates the deplorable and tragic conditions of the Atlantic Slave Trade into a Travelogue worthy of Arthur Frommer, it was perfectly clear that Newman not only reveled in his reputation as a musical shape shifter (comfortable in any musical genre) but remarkably, was unafraid to speak the unspoken and bring real truth to power.

Fast forward seven years and we arrive at one of Newman's most maligned recordings, 1979's Born Again - a misunderstood, minor release that has him reveling in the rock star afterglow of his out of nowhere ride to Billboard glory on the stubby little legs of his novelty hit from 1976, Short People. As a follow-up, an artist as mercurial as Newman would probably be repulsed by a "slightly taller people" sequel and go completely out-of-body - embracing and experimenting with synthesizer and electronic orchestra laden production techniques that were so prevalent in the popular muzak of the time.

Consequently, every song on this pristine recording is written from the parallax view - the money chase, suburban conformity, random "fags" and imbecilic exhibitionism are all cleverly ridiculed and lacerated under Newman's jaundiced eye and set to music against a late 1970's wall-of-sound that might have been de rigueur for Boston or Kansas but unintentionally hilarious when set against Newman's sardonic landscape.

For those who cry foul due to some very pointed and cruel lyrics - you are undoubtedly not listening to the soundtrack of the average 13 y/o in 2010 where f-bombs explode like pyrotechnics in Chinatown and caustic lyrics flow like Red Bull. By comparison, Born Again seems almost quaint but is nevertheless tough, trenchant social commentary with Mr. Sheep taking on the cattle-call sameness of corporate careerism and Pretty Boy curdling around the taint of homophobia. If you were expecting Short People II, put that dwarf down and pick-up one of Randy Newman's most unheralded (and enjoyable) releases. A mini masterpiece that is still capable of hitting a nerve today! Highly recommended. 
 

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Details
Label: Warner Bros
Genre: Pop
Release Date: May 16, 1989

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"A Mini Masterpiece!"
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