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Life's Too Short

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Album Review

Marshall Crenshaw entered the '90s, following his departure from Warner Bros., with a new label, his hardest rocking album to date, and hope of a rejuvenated career. Backed for the most part by the rhythm section of Kenny Aronoff (drums) and Fernando Saunders (bass), Life's Too Short adds to the muscle that Crenshaw had been building in recent years, while at the same time stripping away the slight sheen of his previous two releases. It's also arguably his best collection of tunes since 1983's Field Day. With the expectations and pressure to recapture the success of his debut seemingly behind him, Crenshaw appears to have found a renewed sense of freedom and vitality here, and not since Downtown has he sounded so natural and at home. The opener, "Better Back Off," kick starts the record with a quote from the Rolling Stones and then proceeds to offer words of love and encouragement, with music that's both as tough and as sweet as its sentiment. Furthermore, with cuts such as "Delilah," "Stop Doing That," "Walkin' Around," and "Fantastic Planet of Love," he strikes a nice balance between self-assured rocker and pop craftsman, while steering clear of tired, power pop clichés. He also brings an adult sensibility to the material, which effortlessly walks the line between innocent and mature, and simple and complex. Difficult to find, as well as being Crenshaw's last major label release, Life's Too Short is another terrific yet commercially underappreciated work by an artist that, though responsible for some of the most irresistible songs of the '80s and '90s, seems inevitably destined for cult status.

Customer Reviews


This is a fabulous album - rocking, melodic, and lyrically solid. If Buddy Holly had been born in the early '60's, this is the album he would have released in 1991.

One of Crenshaw's finest

In between the commercialized 80's and grunge/indie rock of the 90's was this pop-rock gem in the spring of 1991. Each track is quite strong and I haven't tired of it in 20 years. Crenshaw's melodies and chord progressions are examples of simple yet brilliant songwriting. It is easily one of my all-time favorite recordings. If you haven't heard this album, do yourself a favor and check it out.


Songs like "Delilah", and "Fantastic Planet of Love" are some of the best rock and roll ever recorded. It is amazing that they are not universally known and revered, but, those of us who know them get to feel a little special! The songs, the guitars, the harmonies, all contribute to make this a masterpiece. When I look for favorite guitar tones and riffs, I go to this album and a few others. And, it is worthy of many listenings. The music is deep and doesn't wear out.


Born: November 11, 1953 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Rock

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

The pop-minded singer/songwriter Marshall Crenshaw built up an impressive body of work over the course of his career, showing a fine craft for everything he approached while stubbornly following his own creative muse to reach that end. To call Crenshaw's career "interesting" would be putting things mildly. He starred in several movies and portrayed John Lennon in the road-show version of Beatlemania. His songs were featured on several film soundtracks and covered by such diverse artists as Robert...
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