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Democracy for Lovers

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Album Review

Since folksinger Paul Lippert made his name as a children's entertainer, with previous albums boasting the titles Rainbow in the Sky and Humpty Jumpty, it should be noted right off the bat that this, his fifth album, is not aimed at youngsters. The title, Democracy for Lovers, may clue potential buyers in to that, and if not, the cover illustration by Tim Foley, a Garden of Eden treatment featuring full frontal nudity for Adam and Eve, should do the trick, helping parents avoid Lippert's lyrics, which include one instance of scatological language. There, now that the kids are out of the picture, it can be explained that, as its title suggests, Democracy for Lovers, released four weeks prior to the 2008 U.S. presidential election, equally treats affairs of the heart and political issues, and in each case Lippert comes across as upset, yet hopeful. On the political front, he looks forward to "Years of Peace," as the opening song puts it, and he resurrects Burt Bacharach and Hal David's assertion that "What the Worlds Needs Now Is Love." At the same time, in the waning days of the George W. Bush administration, he is not happy with the state of things, particularly with regard to the Iraq War, which he criticizes bitterly in such songs as "In God We Trust" and "When Johnny Comes Flying Home." More generally, he decries the actions of a president who prevailed on a technicality in one election and by a small majority in another governing as if he had a huge mandate in the album's most caustic song, "Winner Take All Democracy." But Lippert isn't only displeased by the political landscape. Several songs suggest that his love life (or that of the first-person narrator, anyway) is in turmoil and that he has ideas on the subject, expressed in the album's closing song, "Bring Her Back." Lippert expresses his feelings clearly, not only in his words, sung in a steady, earnest tenor, but also in music that ranges from familiar acoustic folk to blues-rock. This may not be children's music, but it is presented with a simple directness that adds to its effectiveness.

Democracy for Lovers, Paul Lippert
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