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Harps & Angels
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Product Description

In a splendid gold-accented gown, her blonde curls cascading past her shoulders and her harp at the ready, she's a winged wonder indeed! Porcelain head, arms and legs. Polyester dress. 17 1/2" x 4 1/2" x 16" high.

Customer Reviews:

  • It's Randy Newman
    And you take that for what its worth. If you love Rand (and I do), then this is a great purchase, falling in with maybe his less celebrated stuff, but absolutely the next logical step. As always, the music is gifted and complex, while the lyrics have the satire and bite that you've come to expect.

    And hey, after a decade, any Randy Newman is good Randy Newman......more info
  • Newman's Own - Randy Sees the Dark at the End of the Tunnel
    First, let's get the easy part out of the way - "Harps and Angels" is another great album from Randy Newman. If you like Newman, you won't regret the purchase.

    For 40 years or so Randy Newman has been the troubadour of his generation, using razor-sharp wit and a soundscape steeped in Americana that is both the perfect foil for his irony and somehow deeply affecting at the same time. He understands America as it is, skewering its icons while empathizing with its losers. His songs are almost innocent in their underlying yearning for an America that could have been, but wasn't.

    "Harps and Angels" continues in the same introspective vein that was so startling in "Bad Love." Newman was in his mid-50s when "Bad Love" was released. "Harps and Angels" catches Randy Newman in his mid-60s. On both albums, the songs are remarkably personal. All but gone are songs like "Birmingham," "It's Lonely At the Top," and "Lucinda," in which Newman uses a central fictional character, whether telling the story in the first person or the third, to make precise, gemlike incisions into the narcissistic confabulation which has become the American dream. In their place are songs that are ruminations by a middle-aged man about himself, the people he knows, and the world he lives in. The tunes in "Harps and Angels" are no less unsparing, insightful and laugh out loud funny than those in "Sail Away," or "Trouble in Paradise," but they are songs written by a man looking back on his life and times, knowing that the end, if not quite in sight, will be here soon enough.

    In "Harps and Angels" Newman's awareness of his own mortality is everywhere. The title song is about the near-death experience of someone that could be Newman himself -- "My, heart began to pound, it was arhythmic and out of tune, I lost my equilibrium, and fell face down upon the ground" -- a 65-year-old man walking down the street felled by a heart attack. It turns out that the angels that surround him realize they have the wrong guy -- a clerical error -- and advise him to clean up his ways if he doesn't want to be met by pitchforks on the other side. In the hilarious "A Few Words in Defense of Our Country" Newman rails with bitterness that "this Supreme Court is going to outlive me," and makes some choice comments about "two young Italians and a brother" -- Scalia, Alito, and Clarence Thomas. He talks about losing his memory in "Potholes," reflecting that considering his behavior during his life he can only hope that the potholes get bigger instead of smaller -- memory loss as a blessing to a reprobate nearing the end of his life.

    But "Harps and Angels" is not a depressing album. As always, going back to his earliest works, he cloaks his disappointment and disgust with the world and the people in it, including himself, in lyrics and music of such wit and humor that we can't help but crack a smile even when Newman is at his most bitter or morose. He damns his own generation for raising their kids in a world where the "Neighborhoods are dangerous, The public schools are bad." But then he offers the All-American easy way out. If you want your kids to excel in school, you don't have to pay more attention to them or work harder yourself, just hire "Korean Parents." Along the way, he takes well-aimed shots at the increasing gap between the haves and have-nots, the notion that John Cougar can be both a huckster for GM trucks and an authentic voice of the working stiff, and whatever else is "grinding his gears" (as Peter Griffin might say) these days.

    The music as ever is wonderful. From his trademark, lazy, slow-rolling New Orleans-inflected blues, to the Weimar cabaret music of Kurt Weill, Newman proves once again that he is a master at creating the perfect musical backdrop to add bite or irony or pathos to his songs.

    My only quibble with "Harps and Angels" is that it has been almost a decade since his last new album of original songs that are not movie soundtracks. I don't want to wait until Randy is 75 to get his next take on this American life. ...more info
  • A great album
    The state of the union and our culture from one of our more acerbic commentators. Newman's tone of comic bemusement and aloof disgust has never been put to better use. May be the best record of his career....more info
  • The country's a mess...laugh & be happy!
    Randy Newman is a sentimental favorite, so a positive review is not based on comparisons to his extensive body of work, his lyrics or antics. I just love this harps and angels collection. "Laugh and Be Happy" "A Few Words in Defense of Our Country" and "Potholes" are great work-commute listening songs. I have shared it with college students 1/3 my age and they like it, too! So, thanks, Randy for another classic on the road to wherever we're headed. rose...more info
  • An Old Master
    Harps and Angels truly shares with much great art exasperation and despair at certain political realities and an essential joy in being alive--especially, perhaps, from the perspective of a long life of artistic accomplishment. Exhilarating and musically sophisticated, this album bears repeated listening. Great fun, too. ...more info
  • THE Talented Randy Newman
    When he is not writing movie scores or playing in the Hollywood Bowl he is just another song writer... Yeah RIGHT!!! We are so lucky to have this wonderfully gifted talent share his wit and stories. Our generation has lost a little of this art. This album gives back in so many ways. For those who have followed Randy Newman and GET HIM!!! this is a no brainer- must have. I am happy to say, for those who are intrigued- they to will enjoy a mix of music-ology...ala Randy Newman. ENJOY!!!...more info
  • Not Dead Yet
    On his last album, 1999's 'Bad Love', Randy Newman parodied tired old rock stars who bring out albums 'just like the last one - but not as good'. ('I'm Dead (But I Don't Know It)'). Well, 'Harps And Angels' is strikingly similar to 'Bad Love', both in its sound and in its mix of songs and styles. Is it as good as 'Bad Love'? It has to be said that it's not better - but then 'Bad Love' was a truly wonderful album, one of Newman's best.

    'Harps And Angels' lacks the moving personal touches that made lifted 'Bad Love' above the pack. Many of the songs seem like re-workings of songs from the previous album - 'Only A Girl', for example, is very similar to 'Shame' in its portrayal of a sordid old geezer fallen for a young thing, although it is much more light-hearted in tone than 'Shame', which is an hilarious black-hearted masterpiece. 'Losing You' certainly reminds one of 'I Miss You', but is more of a generic lost love song with gorgeous strings. And most of the other songs cover instantly recognizable Newman territory.

    Having said that, 'Harps And Angels' is a delight from beginning to end. It's a delicious companion-piece to 'Bad Love'. Newman seems totally comfortable with his own style now - there are none of the lapses that disfigured his albums from the later 70s and 80s. (Though some will have their doubts about 'Korean Parents'.) And what a style it is! There are many artists about whom one says 'there's no-one like [insert name here]' - but Newman is one of the very few to whom it truly applies....more info
  • A Masterpiece
    I love the 3-star guy's idea of "misses." "Feels Like Home" is a miss???? This is a song that compares to the best of Gershwin, Ellington, Stevie Wonder, Lennon-McCartney, Cole Porter, etc., etc., etc., not to mention Randy himself. And "Mr. 3-star's" other "misses" are all amazing songs. This is simply a great album by a great songwriter. ...more info
  • Hallelujah I Just Love Him So!

    "Connoisseurs covet Randy Newman's Seventies work, when he emerged as one of the most cutting and empathic of American singer-songwriters. So his return to political-minded material is reason to wrap yourself in the flag and cheer." Will Hermes

    Randy Newman in the first line of the first song of his latest CD 'Harps & Angels" asks "Hasn't anybody seen me lately?" Yes, Randy we have, and we love ya, but we have been waiting for this studio CD for nine years. Hallelujah, I Just Love Him So! Most of the critical reviews of this new CD are positively positive. A mixed bag, so to speak of Randy's best. He goes back to his New Orleans, Dixieland roots in this CD, a most personal journey. Some have called this CD a little black, but I call it a rainbow. It has something for everyone. Political, bruised Patriotic wit, mixed in with a peculiar immigration policy. He is vexed and grateful that he can still provoke us. One critic called this CD whimsy and that term suits this CD to a "T". It is glorious and bleak, happy and showy, thoughtful, full of irony and humorous. And, above, all Randy Newman intones an achingly beautiful ballad, 'Feels Like Home'. Try to listen to Randy croon this tune without tears coming to your eyes. Is this a love song to a person or to his country? Funny, rueful and simple, Randy Newman sings this tune straight.

    "If you knew how lonely my life has been
    And how long I've been so alone
    And if you knew how I wanted someone to come along
    And change my life the way you've done

    It feels like home to me, it feels like home to me
    It feels like I'm all the way back where I come from
    It feels like home to me, it feels like home to me
    It feels like I'm all the way back where I belong."

    Randy Newman is at his best when he is playing his music in a concert before a room of adoring fans. And, that is exactly the feel of this CD. Whether we came to Randy Newman because of his film scores or because of a love for his satires, political or not, you will not be disappointed. Randy sings to us in these ten songs of a loss of our American country as we knew it. The present administration may not be as bad as Cesar or Stalin, but its the worst we have seen. We have hope, we are not dead nor dying, in fact we have much to do. Randy throws us a Dixieland curve and sings of loss of a love, finding of a new love, the waste of memory on old age, the loss of deliverance of Patriotism by Jackson Browne and I like Jackosn Browne, the story of immigrants and how those of us living in the richest country in the world should expect more. And, then, finally Home, "Feels Like Home', one of the loveliest of songs. It has become my favorite and will certainly become a cover for every romantic singer.

    Randy Newman moves from Tom Lehrer to Tom Waits. He may sound full of despair at times, but his soul searching moves on to love, joy and hope.
    Highly, Highly Recommended. prisrob 10-29-08

    Randy Newman Anthology

    Randy Newman Anthology, Vol. 2 (Music for Film, Television and Theater)

    Sail Away ...more info
  • Dark Brilliance
    Whatever you may think of Randy Newman, any artist who can link Clarence Thomas with the sudden downgrade in Pluto's planetary status and somehow have it make sense deserves more than a cursory listen. With the release of Harps & Angels, his first new record in nearly a decade, Randy remains in character as the crankiest bastard at the 4th of July picnic. I'm glad he came.

    Even by his own high threshold for cynicism, Harps & Angels is exponentially so. If Jeremiah suddenly found himself in New Orleans with a piano and first-rate combo it is doubtful that the perpetually depressed prophet could have offered a collection of lamentations as beautifully despondent as Newman has served here.

    This is Newman at his nasty, corrosive and subversive best railing and poking at an Empire that, in his not so humble opinion, is nearing its expiration date.

    After getting the party rolling with a near-death confessional in the opening title track, Randy keeps it light with ruminations on Hitler, Stalin, Immigration, Outsourcing, Asian Ascendancy, vengeful parents, shattered love and as a bonus, returns to a theme that is near and dear to his best work, the self-indulgent nihilism of his Boomer cohorts - The Not So Great Generation.

    In many ways Harps & Angels is Good Old Boys moved north for 2008 with America now squarely in the crosshairs.

    Owing a great deal to his parallel career as an Oscar-winning film composer, the music and lyrics here converge in mini-screenplay format where the musical inflections are used with great precision in augmenting Newman's increasing reliance on spoken-word delivery. The overall effect is powerful set against the spare arrangements.

    When Newman's at his best pinpointing favorite songs and lyrics really detracts from the pleasure of discovering the work on your own terms - ok, Korean Parents immediately stands out - but that's all you're going to get.

    In closing, I can only suggest that you audition Harps & Angels for your friends at your next dinner party - just lock the medicine cabinet and hide the knives.
    ...more info
  • Welcome Back, Randy
    For lifelong Newman fans like myself who have been following his career since his debut in the mid-'60s, this album comes as a welcome surprise. With the release of the overproduced Trouble In Paradise in 1983, I had the opportunity to ask Newman what he thought of those of us who just wanted to hear him play and sing. His reply was pure industry: "There are people who say I shouldn't do rock 'n' roll, but I got to. If I don't change, it wouldn't interest me. I'd go do something else." What he went and did in fact was create some of modern Hollywood's most impressive film scores, and a few career-making hit title songs, culminating in a long-awaited Oscar for his work on Monsters, Inc. With Harps & Angels, Newman (now 64) harkens back to his old New Orleans roots with a tastefully produced album consisting of trio backed by orchestra. This is the Newman we all know and love from the early albums 12 Songs, Live, Sail Away, and Good Ol Boys. While many artists are insulted when they hear fans whine about the good ol days of their careers and lament the new growth, I think it's different with Newman. When I asked him how best he felt he performed he replied: "I've done it all three ways; with a band, with an orchestra, and by myself. I think it's best by myself." I almost agree. In my opinion, this album's ensemble brings back a Newman we have long known and missed. Welcome back, Randy....more info
  • More Great Songs
    I realize upon rediscovering Randy Newman (listening to "A Few Words in Defense of Our Country" on Acoustic Cafe), that I really enjoy his music. The songs are catchy and stick in your ear and the lyrics are simultaneously wonderful and shocking. ...more info
  • Still has arranging flair, but light on the melodies
    I did not expect so many of the songs on this short (34 min.) new offering to be raps -- Newman talks over his piano accompaniment with orchestral embellishment. Newman has used this technique effectively in the past, on "The Girls In My Life" from the Born Again album. The title track is a conversational rap, and it's a complete success. "In Defense of My Country" also works nicely as Newman talks, not sings, his lines.

    I can't be as enthusiastic about Easy Street (half spoken, half sung), or "Potholes" (mostly spoken). Nor did I find the melodies on "A Piece of The Pie" or "Korean Parents" particularly appealing.

    Lyrically, Newman ruminates on the state of the nation, and some topics related to aging and mortality, love that you appreciate (Feels Like Home) and love that's lost (Losing You). It's sharp stuff, but not as sharp as the old days. Well, what can you expect but a slight mellowing from a Randy Newman who's on the cusp of Social Security?

    The orchestration is lovely -- it will take you right back to the classic albums he did in the mid 70's. Laugh And Be Happy sounds a bit like burlesque show music, and A Piece Of The Pie is very theatrical. The other arrangements will sound very familiar to Randy Newman fans -- bringing to mind Ragtime-era turn-of-previous-century fare.

    The sound quality is not so lovely. It favors the midrange, the dynamics are compressed. Such is the fashion in audio engineering these days, but it makes Newman's voice more grating and froggy than it should be, and Newman's voice doesn't need any help in that department.

    The title track and A Few Words In Defense... are standout tracks. The one that tops them all is the final cut, Feels Like Home. I actually thought this song was penned by Chantal Kreviazuk. It was a bonus track on the American release of her album What If It All Means Something. The song suits her. As a bonus track, the liner notes were silent about the composer. It turns out Randy Newman wrote this for his Faust album, which I have not heard. Coming from the cynical Newman, this heartfelt love song seems out of place in this collection, yet Randy is just as effective singing this unaffected melodious confession as he is raising an eyebrow on American society. Feels Like Home has a classic, anthemic melody (especially anthemic in Chantal Kreviazuk's cover of it) that makes up for some of the lack of melody on the rest of the record.

    While the songs on Harps & Angels all amused me as I listened to them the first time, I seriously wonder how many of them I will want to hear again, outside of the standouts I mentioned. That would be my only reservation about purchasing the album. So a final rating of three and a half stars for a record that is never less than good, and sometimes very good. Still, objectively it falls short of five star greatness. ...more info
  • we love it
    I think this is one of the best cd's i've heard in a long time-from ironic to just plain beautiful lyrics- this cd has it all

    Bravo...more info
  • Five stars for "Feels Like Home" and "Losing You"
    This is a two-song album for me. "Feels Like Home" is one of the most touching and beautiful ballads ever written, and "Losing You" is a close second; the rest of the stuff is hardly listenable.

    Newman insists on putting politics into his music, of all the things in the world, but he is no Tom Lehrer, not by light years.

    In fact, I would be delighted if all of our gifted artists would be content with the fact that they are (unlike me) gifted artists, and resist the temptation to abuse their moment in the spotlight to spout nonsense and absurd political views. They (the artists) don't know anything more than the rest of us, and frequently know a lot LESS. Richard Wagner springs to mind, but the list is very long... VERY long. Don Henley of the Eagles is way up there. But do your own research. How about John Lennon ("Imagine") ???...more info
  • Not Quite
    Randy Newman gets a three-star head-start for being Randy Newman, but this is an oddly anemic effort. It's billed as an album of all new material, but it's not: "Laugh & Be Happy" was written for the Pixar animators easily 15 years ago in response to the Evil Mouse meddling; "Feels Like Home" is from Faust, also going back close to 15 years now. Several other songs feel like cast-offs from earlier albums/projects. Among those that don't, several of those feel like Randy Newman consciously writing Randy Newman songs, instead of simply writing songs.

    Don't get me wrong, that three-star head-start comes with a lot of gifts: intricate internal harmonies, lush string arrangements, and a barbed, rambunctious and often simply hilarious sense of irony, in bold display here to an extent often nodded at but not usually found in such raw abundance on his records (as opposed to live performances).

    And there are pleasures to be found here, to be sure, not least of which the twisted "Korean Parents," and the one-sided conversations that serve as bridges in several of the tunes. But if you're licking your chops waiting to get your synapses fired off by 9 years of deliciously marinating Newman tunes, I'm afraid you'll have to settle for a few light appetizers and an entertaining waiter....more info
  • Harps & Angels
    Newman talks over his piano accompaniment with orchestral embellishment. Newman has used this technique effectively in the past, on "The Girls In My Life" from the Born Again album....more info
  • I love Randy.
    His humor and wit cannot be matched. I enjoy listening to this at work...puts a smile on my face....more info
  • Not Sail Away or Good Ol Boys, but...
    Very much like what I have loved in Randy Newman for all of these past 35 years or so. WONDERFUL quirkiness; fabulous orchestration; words that say something; absolute genius COMPOSING. Newman, is, at heart, not a 'songwriter'; he is a composer. If you don't like actual compositions, leading to sometimes lush and sometimes a little wierd music, don't listen. Randy is not your Top 40 (or whatevertheheck they call it these days...Top Crap probably says it best) tune guy. He knows his craft, and he really knows himself and the world around him. And, I love it that he can still put out something of this quality....more info
  • FEELS LIKE HOME - - Indeed it does!
    After the somewhat disappointing, and unusually dyspeptic (even for Newman) Bad Love, Randy Newman returns to classic form.

    Either you get him or you don't.

    And if you do, this new disc is a treasure trove of new, great material.

    All except "Feels Like Home", which as I noted in a comment to a previous review first appeared on "Randy Newman's Faust" (perhaps his masterpiece) and sung by Linda Ronstadt.

    Damn - that song lead me to my second marriage. Really. It felt like home. 'nuff said. Ten years later, extreme happiness and no regrets.

    Thanks Randy. Once again.

    (from one of those damn short people)...more info
  • 21st Century Piano Playing Mark Twain
    This one is one of the few albums that I find so rewarding that I can listen to it multiple times in one day. I'm usually too restless for that kind of repetition, but Harps and Angels is that good. I can't find a flaw in it. The arrangements are impeccably tasteful and occasionally quirky in a delightful way. Admittedly, he utilizes some old, familiar Randy Newman devices - e.g., stepwise movements with orchestral instruments that sound somewhere between Beethoven and ragtime - but as always, they fit perfectly with the material.

    The range here is quite broad, covering everything from bitingly satirical glances at U.S. culture and politics, apparently on the downward side of its arc, to hysterical personal anecdotes that reflect a depth of understanding of human psychology behind the bite of the humor, to the expression of sweet, romantic gratitude, played so straight it initially had me sniffing around for the irony. And like the best writers, Randy puts forth all this material in a way that both maintains strong individualism and strikes a universal chord. His creative fire still burns brightly and his work reflects an ongoing deepening and maturation that make Harps and Angels one of the most satisfying records of the year. Most highly recommended!!!...more info
  • A voice of reason in dangerous times
    Randy Newman is modern day, singing Voltaire who has turned his prodigious wit on a selection of social concerns that lead him to question whether the best days of the US Imperium are over. His targets here are the more serious offenders: religious humbuggery ("Harps & Angels"), failed political leadership ("A Few Word in Defense of Our Country"), lack of engagement with the serious concerns of our times ("Laugh & be Happy"), social and financial inequality ("Piece of The Pie"), dysfunctional relationships ("Only a Girl"), and parental confusion ("Korean parents"). There are two particularly beautiful ballads on this album that are likely to outlive the ephemeral political concerns of the other material. "Loosing You" is the confession of a middle aged man who has it all, but remains haunted by profound loss. The counterbalance is the wonderfully orchestrated ballad "Feels Like Home". The narrator finds love again after a long respite, returning to a place where he feels a profound sense of belonging. The essence of the song is encapsulated in this beautiful line: "feels like I'm on my way back where I'm from, with your embrace, down a long dark street and a sigh of wind in the night. It's alright, `cause I have you here with me, and I can almost see the dark feels light". Randy Newman is a marvel. I saw him live at the Capitol in Sydney in the late 1970's. For me, at times he projects the persona of a curmudgeon at a pantomime, but his wonderful catalogue belies any misanthropy. He is a great American, but more importantly a citizen of the world, in love with the best the human race has to offer, but vigilant about its failings. May he live forever.

    ...more info
  • Short and sweet
    I had to buy this new album as he's bound to play some of the songs at his only gig at the Royal Festival Hall in the UK in November. As always with Randy Newman theres a lot thats worth listening to here. On first listen its not an easy album to get to grips with. The orchestrations and arrangements (by RN) are full-on and to some degree make it difficult to listen to the all important lyrics. However after that first listen you will be caught up in the strange world of Randy Newman, and the arrangements add to the album as a whole, giving it a different sound and feel to from his other albums.

    Quite a few songs have the standard Randy Newman Piano shuffle and overall I felt there was more of New Orleans feel to this album. Lyrically its everything you'd expect from the man, i.e. completely unpredictable. Funny, satirical, moving, he switches from one to other without pause.

    Its not quite as good as Bad Love or some of his earlier classic albums (Sail Away etc) and it is pretty short at 35mins, so I couldn't give it five stars. However don't be put off its still Randy Newman, which means its better than most new music out there, and its still highly recommended. ...more info
  • just great
    I saw RN last year solo & it was great & he did a few cuts off what would be H & A. This is a solid effort better that Bad Love from 1999...Froom's production is much better on this recording. The title track is an instant classic. Newman's pop recordings have been few & far between the last 20 years but always worth the wait. Not a week offering here & nice in a short LP length recording (less IS more-NO FILLER)...equally as good as Brian Wilson's most recnt offering (if not better)& Lindsey Buckingham's. ...more info
  • Randy Newman's "Recessional"
    I as first drawn to Newman's music in the early 1970s, and I still highly value his brilliant concept album "Rednecks." As other reviewers have noted,this album is too brief, but the quality of the songs more than make up for it. "Harps and Angels" shows Newman at his wittiest, as he does little more than talk over a dixie-land jazz type background.But just listen to the instrumental scoring - it is absolutely wonderful, perfectly complenting Newman's well-phrased delivery. Newman has always been a magnificent ballad composer -remember "Marie" from the "Rednecks" album. Here he gives us "Losing You" and "Feels like Home," which rank among his best. "A Few Words in Defense of My Country" is a wonderful satirical exercise, perfectly skewering the gross incompetence of the Bush regime and the absurdity of the contrived hysteria of recent years: " A president once said, 'The only thing we have to fear is fear itself' - now we're supposed to be afraid - it's patriotic and color-coded. And what are we supposed to be afraid of ? Why, being afraid!" Well said, Randy. Kipling once wrote a poem "Recessional," acknowledging the end of the British Empire. This seems to be Newman's nod to that sentiment. Thanks for everything you've given us over a career of more than three decades. ...more info
  • Harps and Angels
    Typical Randy Newman - irreverent, thoughtful, cynical, funny, a little profane. I enjoyed it but needed the written lyrics to follow because he's a fast-talker. I think you gotta like Randy Newman's stuff to appreciate it....more info
  • LISTEN TO MY MOTHER!
    My mother claims she would marry Randy Newman. When this album came out she phoned me every day, haranguing me until I PROMISED I would buy it. He is inventive. He is original. Yes, as my mother says, he is completely honest.
    I asked my mother if she could go back and time and not marry my father and marry Randy Newman instead (in which case I would never have been born) would she do it. Sadly, she couldn't answer me right away. That's how good this album is....more info
  • A sensitive man....
    I am not sure exactly how long Randy Newman has been making music but he still has got IT as far as I am concerned. Thoughtful heartfelt songs yet again....more info
  • A new fan!
    At 50 years of age this is my first Newman album. Great melodies, lyrics and singing. All beautifully arranged and performed. Very funny,very sad,sometimes both at the same time. Can someone recommend some more of his recordings?...more info
  • Better than Ever!
    Randy Newman is at his best here. When sweet, his songs will tear your heart out. When sarcastic and political, his tongue at its acid best. When honest -- brutally funny and pulling no punches. I really love this set of pieces. This is melodic and beautifully crafted thinking man's music. How he continues to write this way, so consistently excellent never ceases to astound me. This is a must buy, because you will want to listen over and over and over again. There's much more here than meets the eye at first go-see....more info
  • Social Commentary
    Randy Newman is the most astute songwriter and thinker when it comes to social commentary. Not everyone "gets" him, but I crave his voice and his original songs. I have listened to this amazing album over and over, especially the song "A Few Words in Defense of Our Country." Truly, he has "heard America singing."
    ...more info
  • Only Jackson Browne Cares? Bono's Never Around!
    This album is full of strong feelings, and yet I continue to listen to it repeatedly. Good music can be thought provoking too. It's a love-hate kind of relationship.

    Randy Newman's satire is equal opportunity. He makes fun of our past and present leaders in the US and other countries, of elitism, of music industry liberals out to save the world, of himself. That is what free speech is all about, and it makes America great, even if our "empire" appears to be in decline.

    Other reviewers have been kind to point out that a couple of the songs are recycled from earlier works, and this does not detract from the album.

    My interest in Randy Newman's music was recently renewed by hearing the song that is used during the opening credits of the TV show "Monk". I then found the album at Circuit City during their liquidation sale, which added a little irony to the purchase....more info