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On the evidence of this 22-track career overview, it's tempting to call Warren Zevon's oeuvre a monument of pop-music dichotomy. But that assessment would sorely shortchange Zevon's vast catalog of contradictions: the sentimental songwriter ("Hasten Down the Wind") with a nihilistic heart of darkness who makes the likes ofJello Biafraseem more likeRaffiby comparison; the shrewd, successful tunesmith nonetheless laboring in service of vintage psycho-whack like "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner," "Excitable Boy," and "Werewolves of London"; a man who consorted withJackson Browne,Linda Ronstadt, andR.E.M.("Boom Boom Mancini") and yet who still cheated the devil of his soul; a satirist with the keen eye of a marksman--orRandy Newman, for that matter--who somehow let his own demise get the jump on him, despite having written prescient jollities like "Mr. Bad Example" andLife'll Kill Ya. In short, Zevon walked it like he talked it, peril be damned. If he felt like turning in a straight-up take of the R&B chestnut "A Certain Girl," or lumbering inexplicably throughPrince's "Raspberry Beret," only then to turn on a dime and indulge his classical pretenses on "Mutineer" and "Genius," so be it. Zevon just couldn't help himself from living up to this album's modest title.--Jerry McCulley
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Label:  Elektra, Rhino
ArtistWarren Zevon
Release Date:  October 15, 2002
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review by . December 17, 2003
posted in Music Matters
Warren Zevon was a clever song-writer. Although many of Warren's images conjure up death and violence, many of his songs are quite a bit intoxicating.Genius: Best of Warren Zevon features 22 eclectic songs ranging from heavy rock n roll to light hearted ballads with many snappy arrangments. Just listen to the delightful Spanish flavored guitar stylings on Carmelita and you will understand what I mean. Mr. Bad Example is another creative number with a strong rhythm guitar presence. And of course …
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Genius: Best of Warren Zevon
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