By Jim Fusco:
Do you know how much work I have to do tonight? In addition to running three miles? It’s a LOT- take my word for it. But, I just had to write this article- that’s how strongly I feel about this.
Let me start off by saying that I love Steven Page’s music. I believe him to be the greatest songwriter since Brian Wilson. Quite simply, he’s the man. But, with “A Singer Must Die”, his first official solo effort, he proves once again that, with few exceptions (George Harrison being one of them), the whole (his former group, Barenaked Ladies) is greater than the sum of its parts. Now, it might not be fair to judge his new solo career based on one album yet (and I won’t, as his real solo album with original songs comes out later this year), but I feel it necessary to get my two-cents in.
I hadn’t purchased the album (and I’m glad I didn’t)- my brother Mike let me borrow his. I noticed that it got all of one play rotation in his car, as he readily handed it over just a few days after getting it himself.
As a person who records covers each week, you’d think I’d be open to this release. But, this doesn’t sound like an “album”- it sounds like a collection of songs. The styles all too different to make it sound like a cohesive album. And when I hear Steven Page’s voice, I want it to be singing his own songs in his own style. Hearing it on other people’s songs sounds odd and “untrue” because he didn’t write it.
Then, I put the CD in my player in the car. I’ve never been so disappointed.
The first song was forgetful, at best. But then, it all went very, very wrong.
“I Want You” (an Elvis Costello song) may possibly be the worst recording I’ve ever heard. Not only is the song terrible, but the out of key strings and the weird timing makes it almost unlistenable.
Then, it’s followed by a Rufus Wainwright durge that I lasted only about a minute into.
Then, the most embarrassing track of all- Steven Page’s own cover of his OWN song, “Running Out of Ink”. No drums, no harmonies- just strings and him. It was like he was making fun of himself. I was crushed. I listened to about a minute of this one, then switched the track one more time.
“A Singer Must Die”, another real jump-starter to the album (by now, I hope you know that I’m being facetious), and I just sighed disgustingly and took the CD out of the player so fast you’d think it was physically hurting the machine.
With all due respect to amateur reviewer Chris Moore of the Laptop Sessions Music Blog, this album could NEVER garner itself four stars. I’m wondering who paid him off to write such a review. For me to think that an album like Ringo’s “Y Not” was given two stars and this atrocity four stars really, for me, takes away a lot of credibility from “The Weekend Review”.
“I’ve said my piece and I leave it all up to you.”