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Harps and Angels

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iTunes Review

Randy Newman’s first batch of new material since 1999’s excellent Bad Love, Harps and Angels follows many familiar Newman themes to their just placement. Produced by Mitchell Froom and Lenny Waronker, the album centers around Newman’s rolling New Orleans piano and orchestrations, and his droll wit and bluesy singing that often sounds surprised by what transpires. The title track traces a man’s spiritual reformation after being confronted with a near-death experience (he’s called to Judgment Day by a clerical error). “Losing You” explores an elderly couple’s inability to process the death of their son with their own lives’ nearing an end. “A Few Words in Defense Of Our Country” ran as an Op-Ed piece at the New York Times and has worked as the album’s “advance single” recounting the missteps of the Bush administration. “Piece of the Pie” handles economic disparity. “Potholes” humorously recalls his father’s ability to forget everything but Newman’s own childhood failures. “Korean Parents” suggests that strict discipline and a hard-nosed work ethic is society’s desperate need. Newman’s that rare songwriter who never runs out of topics to cover.

Customer Reviews


This album is just beautiful, each song compliments the others superbly. It's a great album to just sit back and chill to. And Randy sounds like he really is enjoying just singing each song, makes me happy just to listen to it! Definately recommend a listen.

A Master at his craft

Here is a guy at the top of his craft. A review of his life and the life of his country. He sings from a definite male perspective, a middle aged male at that. Looking back at his life and what lies ahead. Normally the music is all for me, but in this case the words are beautiful. His quirky waay of mixing words and music, the unusual phrasing gives every song a special twist. And he says what the rest of us only think. Well done Randy, just wish there was another 10 songs or so. Guess I shall have to listen to it again.


All the previous reviews sort of confuse me, I have to admit. This isn’t an album to “chill out to”, nor is it trying to be as funny as “Family Guy”. This is an album without peer, an exceptional piece of work, with a very distinct message. You’d better get it! Randy Newman has again wrapped a very direct and precise message in brightly coloured cellophane and silver paper, and we open it expecting a candy, but no we get a smack in the face, a wake-up call. As usual you can listen to the music, and it’s as usually good, but if you listen to the lyrics there’s a whole other dimension. I can’t pick out a track to eulogise, but “A Few Words …” gets it straight, and “Korean Parents” hits it too.


Born: 28 November 1943 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

An anomaly among early-'70s singer/songwriters, Randy Newman may have been slightly influenced by Bob Dylan, but his music owed more to New Orleans R&B and traditional pop than folk. Newman developed an idiosyncratic style that alternated between sweeping, cinematic pop and rolling R&B, which were tied together by his nasty sense of humor. Where his peers concentrated on confessional songwriting, Newman drew characters, creating a world filled with misfits, outcasts, charlatans, and con men. Though...
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