Oct 30 2008

Jack L – Burn On

Published by at 12:37 am under Blog

Jack LIf You Need Oil serves as an intro to the album. It’s not a great track and I think it’s just there to tell us that this is a new direction for Jack, different to all that’s gone before. At 1 minute 24 seconds, it casually brings us into the toe-tapper It’s Money That I Love. This twisted rock ‘n’ roller is just the first in a string of politically influenced Newman tracks on the album.

The Wire has given me an interest in Baltimore. It’s the city that civility forgot and, much as The Wire plays it out to be a dark, seedy wasteland, the third track on the album, named after the city, has all but condemned it to hell.

‘Cause the city’s dying,

And it don’t know why…

Oh Baltimore

Man, it’s hard just to live

The funk of Kathleen is one of the few tracks I’m not fond of. It feels like it’s just been added because of the Irish connection.

Sandman’s Coming is the first truly heartfelt track on the album and even heartbreaking, as it seems to be a dark lullaby telling a baby girl how terrible and terrifying the world is, maybe she’s better off asleep.

Sail Away is on eof the great Jazz numbers on the album The chorus may sound like it’s been influenced by the theme tune to some 80’s TV show but in fairness, it’s just as catchy and memorable.

Falling in Love is an awesome track with a brilliant electric piano which rivals Jack’s voice in its fascinating sound.

The next five songs are where the album really kicks off for me. The best tracks on the album include I Think It’s Going To Rain Today, which is pure pessimism in the face of a happy world. Jack’s version of You Can Leave Your Hat On will be getting radio play for years to come. Dark, seedy, even sleezy, thsi is a far cry from the anthem of thousands of displaced workers, inspired by The Full Monty.

Great Nations of Europe, In Germany Before the War and Political Science (the last track on the album) are further fine examples of the political undertones in Newman’s work. The sleeve notes for Germany Before the War say that “all the best fairytales are nightmares”. This track is definite evidence of that. It’s beautiful, haunting and very unsettling.

The cure for the unsettling feeling is next. The throwaway Lonely at the Top is actually one of my favourite tracks. It allows Jack’s theatrics to shine through. And it’s a very fine piano piece.

Guilty was a grower. This boozy blues number seems to pick up the story of depression started in Baltimore.

How come nothing that I ever do turns out right?

Let’s Burn Down the Cornfields plays to all of Jack’s strengths and certainly plays out like some of his own songs. The Tom Waits influence is very evident in this too. Perhaps Jack Lukeman’s next project could turn to the work of the great showman, Waits?

God’s Song (That’s Why I Love Mankind) is a satirical and funny song which gives God’s response to all those who ask –

Lord, if you won’t take care of us,

Won’t you please just let us be?

The Beehive State is a country rock song. If that’s what you’re into, then maybe you’ll like this track. I am not and, for me, this track is out of place on an album of thoughtful and thought provoking songs.

The title track, Burn On, is not the album’s strongest and I’d wonder why it was chosen as the title. It is a theatrical number and feels like it may belong alongside Old Man River in Show Boat.

Closing on Political Science, it allows Jack to tip his hat to America and its music, while also allowing him to be funny and sarcastic.

Boom, goes London

Boom, Paris

More room for you

And more room for me

And every city, the whole world ’round

Will just be another American town

Oh, how peaceful it’ll be

We’ll set everybody free

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5 responses so far

5 Responses to “Jack L – Burn On”

  1. Joon 30 Oct 2008 at 1:50 am

    Bollocks, Darren, you need to listen to the originals! Made them his own, pfft!

  2. Darrenon 30 Oct 2008 at 2:05 pm

    Ha – I knew you’d have to comment. 😛 Okay, I promise I’ll look into some more Randy Newman music…

  3. B'dum B'dum B'dum B'd-on 30 Oct 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Tip: Listen to Randy Newman’s actual albums… or at least Sail Away.

  4. Joon 30 Oct 2008 at 3:42 pm

    See. the B’dum stamp of approval!

  5. Lottieon 30 Oct 2008 at 5:54 pm

    This is all can listen to at the moment – It’s so good! Aural Sex!

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