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Songs of No Consequence

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Album Review

One man's stellar legacy is another man's millstone, and until the day he dies Graham Parker will doubtless find his latest music compared (usually unfavorably) to the four superb albums he cut in the 1970s: Howlin' Wind, Heat Treatment, Stick to Me, and Squeezing Out Sparks. To hear some folks talk about his body of work, you'd think Parker's muse had turned tail and fled as soon as Squeezing Out Sparks was completed, but the truth is, despite a lot of poor choices made by record labels and producers over the years, Parker has been writing fine songs and making solid records on a regular basis for close to 30 years now, and Songs of No Consequence makes it clear he has no intention of stopping anytime soon. While Parker's 2004 set, Your Country, found him dipping his toes into country and blues-accented roots rock, Songs of No Consequence is a straightforward rock & roll session (something of a rarity for Bloodshot Records), with Parker backed by frequent touring partners the Figgs, who add a healthy level of spunk to the proceedings. Parker isn't as young as he once was, and he certainly knows it, as cuts like "Bad Chardonnay," "There's Nothing on the Radio," and "Did Everybody Just Get Old?" make abundantly clear, but don't get the silly idea that he's mellowing. Parker's smart, pithy wordplay and bemused annoyance with the world around him informs most of the cuts on this set, and not unlike 1996's Acid Bubblegum, his latter-day rage makes for some darkly humorous and well-pointed observations about the media, contemporary culture, and numerous manifestations of human frailty. In short, Graham Parker still has the sharp edges that made him memorable in the first place, and if you wonder when he's going to make another record like he did in his glory days, a quick spin of Songs of No Consequence might convince you that's a matter of common misconception about his music rather than any real career slump.


Born: 15 November 1950 in East London, England

Genre: Rock

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

Stereotyped early in his career as the quintessential angry young man, Graham Parker was one of the most successful singer/songwriters to emerge from England's pub rock scene in the early '70s. Drawing heavily from Van Morrison and the Rolling Stones, Parker developed a sinewy fusion of driving rock & roll and confessional folk-rock, highlighted by his indignant passion, biting sarcasm, and bristling anger. At the outset of his career, his albums crackled with pub rock energy, snide witticisms, and...
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Songs of No Consequence, Graham Parker
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