BR549: This Is BR549

thisisbr549BR549, with a new, hyphenless name, is back (well, in 2001 they were back). I’d given up on them for over a decade after those two letdowns in a row.  But the to-the-bitter-end-er in me, the same one who stuck with Springsteen’s last trainwreck of a decade for far too long, came back to them with this album and that part of me, for once, was rewarded.

This is the true successor to BR5-49; everything that was wrong with the last two records is fixed here. The cluttered, suffocating feel of trying too hard, missing too often, and the quality- and mood-whiplash those albums put us through is gone. Instead everything seems open, light, free, fun. There’s room to breathe, room to laugh, room to dance again. And, just like on that self-titled album, the songs that clunk do so because they’re just a little too cute; for example, this album’s “Honky Tong Song” is “Psychic Lady.”

Apart from the party song, “Play That Fast Thing (One More Time)” (a Rockpile(?) cover), an ode to staying out to rock much longer than you should, most of the lyrical content is truly country in its focus on regret and failed relationships. It could almost be a concept album that begins with a dumping (“Too Lazy To Work, Too Nervous To Steal”) and continues with The Everly Brothers’ self-reflection and -flagellation (“The price of love/Costs more when you’re to blame” goes the chorus of “Price Of Love”).  From there you get rock bottom with personal and global bargaining in “Psychic Lady” and Anne Murray’s “A Little Good News.” Our protagonist starts to make his slimy, weak-kneed comeback in “Look Me Up” (“He’ll leave you crying but that’s okay/I’ll be ready whenever you say/Look me up”), a Melinda Schneider cover (that seems less slimy when sung by a woman, but I’m thinking that’s due to chauvinistic gender role stereotypes on my part). It nearly ends with a bit more triumph in “Let’s See How Far You Get” before backsliding into self-pity (maybe an appropriate ending point for a country album) on “Fool Of The Century.”

A ton of catchy songs and great sound. A fine, fine record with a bunch of tracks I want to share.

Rating:
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– “Too Lazy To Work, Too Nervous To Steal,” “The Price Of Love,” “Play That Fast Thing (One More Time),” “Look Me Up,” “Let’s See How Far You Get”
– “The Game,” “Psychic Lady,” “A Little Good News,” “While You Were Gone,” “Fool Of The Century,” “Different Drum”
Song Notes: After the jump

  1. Too Lazy To Work, Too Nervous To Steal – Great. Sounds great.
  2. The Price Of Love – Everly Brothers
  3. The Game – After a great start, a step back here.
  4. Psychic Lady –
  5. Play That Fast Thing (One More Time) –
  6. A Little Good News – Anne Murray cover. I was pretty sure I’d heard this before.
  7. While You Were Gone –
  8. Look Me Up –
  9. Let’s See How Far You Get – Sounds like a real modern Nashville hit. “You’re hellbound and headed for the blues”
  10. Fool Of The Century –
  11. Different Drum –
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