13 Songs, 48 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Mike Doughty’s darkly told memoir of his Soul Coughing days, The Book of Drugs, stands out in the world of rock autobiographies. His personal misery and frustrations with what became of his songs led to this reworking of the Soul Coughing catalog. But since most fans have established relationships with many of the songs here, this solo revelation is more challenging than an album of all-new material. But if one can take these songs at face value and not compare them to the versions released approximately 20 years ago (a tall order, for sure), the material takes on a singular quality. It shows a literate, cutting social writer singing his observations to drum machines, acoustic guitars, and sparse electronic arrangements. Doughty’s musicologist side emerges during the appropriately titled “Mr. Bitterness.” Those who enjoyed Soul Coughing's jazzy-noir hyphenated style-shifts might be disappointed by Doughty’s straightforward, no-nonsense approach here, but fans of his distinct vocals and unyielding world views will feel right at home hanging with the man one on one.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Mike Doughty’s darkly told memoir of his Soul Coughing days, The Book of Drugs, stands out in the world of rock autobiographies. His personal misery and frustrations with what became of his songs led to this reworking of the Soul Coughing catalog. But since most fans have established relationships with many of the songs here, this solo revelation is more challenging than an album of all-new material. But if one can take these songs at face value and not compare them to the versions released approximately 20 years ago (a tall order, for sure), the material takes on a singular quality. It shows a literate, cutting social writer singing his observations to drum machines, acoustic guitars, and sparse electronic arrangements. Doughty’s musicologist side emerges during the appropriately titled “Mr. Bitterness.” Those who enjoyed Soul Coughing's jazzy-noir hyphenated style-shifts might be disappointed by Doughty’s straightforward, no-nonsense approach here, but fans of his distinct vocals and unyielding world views will feel right at home hanging with the man one on one.

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