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Bad Love

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Album Review

Newman's first collection of pop songs since 1988's Land of Dreams finds him as satirically biting as ever, yet unafraid to tackle personal and heartfelt concerns. Few are out of harm's way when Newman's at the keyboard: Old rock stars get it in "I'm Dead (But I Don't Know It)," dirty old men in "Shame" and "The World Isn't Fair," and cultural imperialism in "The Great Nations of Europe." In addition, there's perhaps one of his most beautiful and personal songs yet, "I Miss You," and even a schmaltzy one, "Every Time It Rains." The production team of Mitchell Froom and Tchad Blake ensure that there are no missteps by maintaining a timeless, orchestrated sound with original instrumentation. Doubters who thought Newman lost his edge after dozens of blockbuster movies needn't worry anymore — few of these songs would find their way onto the smiley soundtracks, yet all of them should rest comfortably alongside his other four-star offerings.


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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