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The Randy Newman Songbook, Vol. 1

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iTunes Review

Randy Newman always felt at odds with rock 'n' roll. He related best to its roots, particularly New Orleans music. Having amassed enough cultural clout with his movie soundtracks, here he set about performing songs from his singer/songwriter career in their natural setting: just him and his piano. This lets listeners focus on Newman's voice and lyrics, the phrasings that tilt the meaning of a song ever so slightly. He doesn't play favorites in terms of era. Songs from his 1999 album Bad Love are presented alongside classics from the '60s and '70s. "Rednecks" still burns with purpose. "It's Money That I Love" has lost none of its sting. "Political Science" is even closer to the truth than when it was first written. Newman deals with existential woes ("God's Song (That's Why I Love Mankind)") and socio-politics ("The World Isn't Fair") without losing a step. Producer Mitchell Froom ensures that the piano's deep and powerful and that Newman's voice is always in the frame. You couldn't ask for better. 

Customer Reviews

Celebrating life's deceptive rearview mirror

I've always been a Newman fan for his distinct voice and amazing ability to hit a medoly or insight that cracks an emotional layer. This song, especially reinforced by the sad longing of Jessie, is a hommage to psychological torture we impose on ourselves to illicit "sadness on demand." We remember moments as being more wonderful than they ever were, so that our sorry existence seems even horrible by contrast. The rearview mirror should come with the disclaimer: "objects in mirror seem more joyful than they were."


Born: November 28, 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...
Full Bio

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