Life'll Kill Ya

Life'll Kill Ya

Warren Zevon always had a dark worldview. Before he was diagnosed with inoperable cancer, he seemed to sense something was bound to go wrong. His years of wild living gave him a brilliantly skewered perception of pop stardom and his version of Steve Winwood’s “Back In the High Life Again,” stripped to acoustic guitar, bass and vocals, has an added poignancy. It’s a moment of calm between the songs of inspired dementia like “I Was In the House When the House Burned Down,” “Porcelain Monkey,” “For My Next Trick I’ll Need a Volunteer” and “Hostage-O,” where Zevon sounds positively possessed as he screenwrites one more dastardly plot from Elvis Presley to his own imagined pirate past. The death songs, however, are overwhelming. The title track, “My S**t’s F****d Up” and “Don’t Let Us Get Sick” vacillate between calm, moody acceptance and deep, dark worry and black humor. It’s more lighthearted in spots and the true genius here is with the melodies that are always simple and irresistible.

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