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Perfectly Good Guitar

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Album Review

For all of his ability to rock out, John Hiatt's records usually have more of a soul and/or country feel to them, which makes 1993's Perfectly Good Guitar something of an anomaly: This is the most consistently rock & roll-oriented album of Hiatt's career. Produced by Matt Wallace (Replacements, Faith No More), who gives a Neil Young-style guitar crunch to most of the songs, Perfectly Good Guitar was a record almost tailor-made for the then-nascent AAA (adult album alternative) demographic. Unfortunately, Hiatt seems to borrow not only Young's guitar sound, but also his sloppy, inconsistent songwriting for this album. The title track is one of Hiatt's all-time best, using smashed guitars as a perfectly realized metaphor for abusive relationships and setting the impressive lyrics to the catchiest chorus of his entire career. But while the tender "Buffalo River Home" and "Blue Telescope" are equally fine, much of the rest of the record sounds hurried and unfocused. "The Wreck of the Barbie Ferrari" sadly fails to live up to its title, and the closing "Loving a Hurricane" takes the Neil Young comparisons right to the edge of outright plagiarism. John Hiatt has released far worse albums than Perfectly Good Guitar, but given how terrific about a third of the songs are, this album's one of his more frustrating efforts.

Customer Reviews

Perfectly Good Guitar is not just a song title!

Awesome! Another great one from Hiatt. The songs are overall smooth with fluid transitions. Perfectly Good Guitar is, in my opinion, the best work of Hiatt's career. Also check out Something Wild, Buffalo River Home, Angel, and The Wreck of the Barbie Ferrari.

Gosh, I think it's pretty good!

I loved The Wreck of the Barbie Ferrari the very first time that I heard it, then became enraptured of Cross My Fingers as well as the songs the reviewer likes. I didn't find the album uneven, difficult, a bummer, or any of those other things. Heck. I just like the darn thing!


my dad got me hooked on john hiatt by the time i was 3. he is a classic... james blunt should talk to him about some lyrics.


Born: 1952 in Indianapolis, IN

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

John Hiatt's sales have never quite matched his reputation. Hiatt's songs were covered successfully by everyone from Bonnie Raitt, Ronnie Milsap, and Dr. Feelgood to Iggy Pop, Three Dog Night, and the Neville Brothers, yet it took him 13 years to reach the charts himself. Of course, it took him nearly that long to find his own style. Hiatt began his solo career in 1974, and over the next decade he ran through a number of different styles, from rock & roll to new wave pop, before he finally settled...
Full Bio

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