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Your Favorite Record

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Album Review

Certain albums, as light-of-touch and precious as they are, hold an inexplicable grasp on the imagination, their melodies so delicately beautiful and their sentiments so guilelessly injected with emotion that they become the best parts of you. Many of these sorts of albums found their genesis in the 1960s: the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds and Millennium's Begin are two particular examples. Linus of Hollywood's debut solo album, Your Favorite Record, is yet another opus in line with those sacred pop music morsels, a record that grows closer and closer to your heart each time you listen to it. The influence of Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney hovers around the perimeter of these songs, so full of ebullient chamber pop melodies as they are, and the album has the same sense of joyous independence as the early-'70s solo albums from one-man-band Emitt Rhodes while also betraying the easy sway of Harry Nilsson and Randy Newman. Linus has one of those angelic voices, a clear and dreamy teen-idol croon, and he sings out his sour introspection with such sweet conviction that the music of Gilbert O'Sullivan comes to mind. The only real significance those comparisons point to, however, is the frequently heartrending music that each artist made. Your Favorite Record stands up to them in every way. It is an enchantingly crafted, romantic gem of a record full of tender, moody songs like "Say Hello to Another Goodbye" and the beautiful, hopeful good morning of "When I Get to California." The arrangements can be simple, as on the swift, XTC-like acoustic tune, "The Man Who Tells the Crazy People What to Say," but are generally magnificently involved. Linus has all the gifts: the songwriting vision, the gorgeous falsetto ("Heavenly"), and the ability to harmonically invoke innocent romance ("Let's Take a Bath"). He creates swaying, textured harmonies (via waves of overdubs) that cascade like updated versions of the Mamas & the Papas or Spanky & Our Gang. The album, in fact, contains a cover of the latter's 1968 hit, "Sunday Morning." Cult '60s soft pop songwriter Margo Guryan actually wrote that song, and she lends Linus an additional hand on piano on another of her songs, the luscious, pensive "Shine." Melodically the album certainly draws on 1960s California pop and the attention to sonic detail on the album stands next to the best recordings from the era, but you can call it retro or derivative only insofar as you can label a whole genre of music as such. That type of criticism stands little chance against music this accomplished. Your Favorite Record is one of those albums that marks a moment in your life. It is only pop music, yes, but it is packed with big-hearted sounds and sentiments, lush and affecting, with that inexpressible touch of magic.


Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s

Growing up in Florida in the 1980s, Kevin Dotson (b. March 4, 1973, in Omaha, NE) took an immediate interest in music. He began playing guitar at the age of five, eventually learning drums, piano, and bass as well, and immersing himself in every style of rock and popular music throughout his teenage years, at first gravitating towards then-popular new wave and heavy metal sounds, but eventually finding the Beatles, Beach Boys, and Zombies as his songwriting and playing skills began to improve. He...
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Your Favorite Record, Linus of Hollywood
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