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I'm a really big fan of Newman. Seen him a couple of time live - wonderful shows. He falls somewhere between a cult figure and a star (except, of course, for his parallel career as a movie score composer). Really like the title track to this album. Also love a recent song of his: Potholes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUuf0ryIwTo which has a baseball motif (segue alert!) about half-way in.
Have never dug him. Pointless "wit" and sarcasm over boring tunes..feel the same about Elvis Costello, tried to like him but..
no real surprise that I like Elvis Costello myself. Just did a gtreat solo acoustic performance here in DC.
 I respect his talent, it just seems he never really engages deeply enough for me. The rock doesn't 'rock', the ballads lack impact (maybe from his voice) and the lyrics seem inscrutable..if you're going to have inscrutable lyrics, you better sing it like Van Morrison.
 "Mystery Dance" doesn't rock??
And I don't think the lyrics are inscrutable. Well, depends what you mean. They aren't Beach Boys, but they aren't exactly Gertrude Stein, either.
And wtf is "pointless wit"? Is wit supposed to have a point?
 Being wordy and clever is fine but if it doesn't go anywhere..hey, I like groove and funk, keep it simple and funky :)
(Don't know Mystery Dance but will YouTube ahoy right now to check it out)
Way more than "pointless wit." Take a listen to Sail Away - a fabulous lyric describing how slaves were lured to America.
Or listen to the incredible auto-biographical lyrics to "Dixie Flyer"
Oh, I thought 'pointless wit' and 'rock doesn't rock' were pointed at Elvis Costello. Must have been, since Randy Newman doesn't really do rock.
I agree about 'Sail Away'. I also think 'Political Science' has pointed wit.
How could someone have a strong opinion about Elvis Costello and never have heard of "Mystery Dance"??
Also "Welcome to the Working Week". And I'm fond of "Shallow Grave", but that's a collaboration with (as Costello calls him) T-Bone McCartney.
 One college roomate of mine played Costello nonstep all year, began to drive me crazy. Ballads were especially excruciating when he (roomate) would sing along. Perhaps with time & distance it's time for a re-listen? I hear his album with the Roots is excellent.
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