Harps and Angels
Randy Newman “came across as an old crank even when he was an angry young man,” said Stephen Thomas Erlewine in All Music Guide. Now 64, and enjoying a lucrative career in Hollywood, you’d think he’d be more content. But he’s still the sharp-tongued songwriter who hides biting satire under an inviting melody. Newman’s discontent with America’s current state led him to record his first studio album in nearly a decade. Besides being a “viciously funny collection,” Harps and Angels is “explicitly an album of its time.” Newman typically has thrived “when society is at its most depraved,” said Rob Tannenbaum in Blender. Now he insults Supreme Court justices on “A Few Words in Defense of Our Country,” his own take on a State of the Union address. In “A Piece of the Pie,” the economy is his target: “Living in the richest country in the world / Wouldn’t you think you’d have a better life?” It all plays like a “sardonic campaign speech,” said Greg Kot in the Chicago Tribune. But Newman wraps his outrage in easy-breezy country and Dixieland to create pop that’s “crushingly poignant” but never overly ponderous.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why is American internet so slow?
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Colorado’s new ‘drive high, get a DUI’ commercials are actually pretty clever
- 7 ways to be the most interesting person in any room
- What the collapse of the Ming Dynasty can tell us about American decline
- 22 TV shows to watch in 2014
- SNL tackles Vladimir Putin's Ukraine invasion, politically and personally
- Ukraine's fraught relationship with Russia: A brief history
- 10 classic Sesame Street moments we wouldn't show today's kids
- Who are the real gay marriage bigots?
Subscribe to the Week