Squawk Radio

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Liz Offers a Miracle of Music

Marshall Crenshaw appeared on the music scene in the early 80s during a rockabilly revival that was all too brief. He was so associated with that movement, in fact, that he was even tapped to play Buddy Holly in the movie “La Bamba.” A lot of people consider him a one-hit wonder for his song “Someday, Some Way,” which is certainly a catchy little ditty, but a stream of albums since his first one have illustrated a range of talent that goes way beyond catchy little ditties. My favorite of his, however, is this CD, “Miracle of Science.”

There’s just such a nice maturation of his talent on this CD, both musically and lyrically, possibly because he took a five-year break between it and the album before it. There’s still an enormous pop influence, but it’s more soulful, and much of the guitar totally rocks. There are touches of country in songs like “Who Stole that Train off the Track?” and hints of the blues in the ironically titled “Laughter.” And there’s the cool, 60s guitar-sounding “Theme from Flare Gun,” which could have been performed by the Ventures. Another visit to the 60s comes in his even cooler cover of “The In Crowd.”

Thematically, too, there’s a movement away from lighthearted romance to the deeper emotions of relationships and how they feel to people who have been through them. There are songs of unfulfilled expectations, dashed hopes, even heartbreak. That’s not to say the CD is a downer. On the contrary. There are happy numbers, too, in songs like “A Wondrous Place” and, yes, a couple of catchy little ditties, like “What Do You Dream of?” And it’s all capped off by “There and Back Again,” a song about reminiscence with which anyone past the age of young love can identify, and which leaves the listener with a wistful smile (and more than a few happy memories).

I like Marshall Crenshaw, too, because he’s one of those artists who keeps doing this because he loves it, and because it’s what he’s good at. Since that first CD, and that one hit, he’s never been at the top of the charts, and nobody much talks about him. But he keeps putting out quality work, and he keeps touring, and he keeps writing songs, because that’s what he DOES. It’s something a lot of us in the book writing business can also relate to. You do it because you love it, and you hope someone else will, too. Me, I love it.

Thanks, Marshall.
Elizabeth Bevarly, 10:52 AM