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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

Harps and Angels

Another strong, if not stand-out record from Randy Newman. Production-wise it's nice to see him stripping down to a more organic sound. His singing continues to move further and further into spoken word. The main point here is the man's wry lyrics, and he continues to impress. Stand-out tracks include the titel track, "A few words" and the boisterous "A piece of the pie".

Listen to Me

If you think the world is coming apart, if you think no one cares anymore, if you think you are all alone. Get this album. Randy Newman is truely one of the best musicians around. Try Harps and Angels for a spirit rebuild. And Laugh and Be Happy for a life tonic. Thank you, Randy Newman.

What's NOT to like

This guy is incapable of putting out a lousy release. A clear voice if ever there was one.


Born: November 28, 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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