Tuesday, March 24, 2009

ALBUM: Get Guilty

So while the whole world it seems was partying at SXSW last week, I was sitting here at work trying to make the best of things by listening to a bunch of new music. Luckily, a good chunk of it was pretty amazing. Who needs Austin, right? I've got my itunes and some homemade PB&J. Sigh.

But seriously, I had some great listening experiences last week. For example, I finally got a chance to sit down and listen to A.C. Newman's new record, Get Guilty, all the way through. Better known for fronting the Canadian pop powerhouse The New Pornographers, Newman shows on his second solo album that he's still a powerhouse on his own. More guitar-driven than 2007's Challengers, there's still the perfectionist's touch behind the muscle - and many of these songs shine more after their initial sheen wears off. They're stuffed front to back with great hooks, toe-tapping beats, and layered pop arrangements - all with the little nuances that we've come to expect from Newman's work. Lyrically, I think it's some of the best stuff he's produced to date - take the opening lines from the opening track 'There Are Maybe Ten or Twelve':

"There are maybe ten or twelve things I could teach you; After that, well, I think you're on your own; And that wasn't the opening line, it was the tenth or twelfth; Make of that what you will."

With that, the record starts off with a solid one-two punch, as the next track, 'The Heartbreak Rides' is just as strong - in fact, with that kind of a kick-off I was worried that the rest of album may be a downward slope. Happily, my worries were quickly assuaged. Awash in strings, horns and assorted other goodies, including the vocal talents of Nicole Atkins and Mates of State's Kori Gardner (bonus points), superb tracks like 'Prophets', 'The Palace at 4AM' and 'The Changeling (Get Guilty)' are just a few examples of the solid set Newman's put together here. Then the album closes out with two more of my favorite tracks, 'The Collected Works' and 'All Of My Days And All Of My Days Off'. Put simply, Get Guilty is 42 minutes of evidence that A.C. Newman is one of the best pop songwriters out there, and that he is indeed at the top of his game.

A.C. Newman- There Are Maybe Ten Or Twelve
from the album Get Guilty (Amazon/iTunes)

A.C. Newman - The Heartbreak Rides
from the album Get Guilty (Amazon/iTunes)

1 comment:

Zidered said...

Spot on review, from my initial listens. I'll be picking up the disc proper next week and seeing the man himself tonight....thanks for adding to the anticipation!