Dark Matter

Dark Matter

Fifty years into his career and Randy Newman’s songwriting is as sharp as ever. On his first album since 2008’s Harps and Angels, he balances sarcasm and sentiment, gorgeous orchestrations and his own deadpan vocal delivery. Newman takes us through debates between science and religion (the gospel-tinged “The Great Debate”), portraits of John F. Kennedy (“Brothers”) and wayward surfers (“On the Beach”), and the kind of bittersweet vignettes of American life that he does in ways few other writers can (the heartbreaking lullaby “Wandering Boy”).

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