I enjoyed Todd Snider’s last album, “The Devil You Know,” immensely and I’ve been buying up Todd Snider records ever since to find one as great. While his other efforts have been good, none are as thoroughly excellent as “Devil” was. Rather than be disappointed, I have just grown to admire that record more and more. So, I was very excited to read that Snider had a new CD coming out with such a hilarious title and cover. Unfortunately, it too did not reach the heights of “Devil,” but it seems like Snider knew it wouldn’t. The range and scope of this CD are almost intentionally limited. Snider just decided to pick a general political theme, and only record an EP’s worth of material to get his point across. On these grounds, it’s hard to criticize it as being unsuccessful. It gets the job done, makes some interesting political points, and rocks a little bit. The biggest surprise about the CD is not that it is critical of Bush and the economic climate, but that it actually manages to make its points in ways you haven’t quite heard before. However, certain choices on here come off as a little half baked and a little vain. For example, “Is This Thing Working?” and “Is This Thing On?” have the same exact lyrics, only the first is done as spoken word and the second is done as an acoustic blues song. The spoken word version is a lot more powerful and effective than the song version, and I wonder why they didn’t decide to go with one over the other. And after the instrumental track, there is a section where Snider speaks over the track and explains himself. The whole thing feels like it would have been better without obvious explanation. Aside from these small artistic choices, the actual songs are pretty good. “Cape Henry” is a catchy country tune, and “Stuck on the Corner” has the great story/rapidfire writing that Snider is so good at. The version of “Fortunate Son” is unlike anything you expect. While this was once again not a continuation of “The Devil You Know,” it is entertaining enough to spend the 8 or 10 bucks it costs to buy it. Still, the CD cover is weirder and more interesting than the actual contents.
I would recommend this to a friend