12 Songs, 45 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Had John Wesley Harding come along a decade earlier he’d have been one of new wave’s leading singer-songwriters. Coming a decade after, he’s had to contend with being another in a long line of literate singer-songwriters with a knack for a clever concept and a quick pop hook. His album productions prefer a wall of band sound where the keyboards match up against the acoustic and electric guitars with the beats solid but never intrusive. You don’t dance to the upbeat strut of “Humble Bee” but you stand in attention as Harding shuffles from stage left to right. “Goth Girl” seems to even pine for a bygone era even as it references the more recent Nine Inch Nails (for whom Harding has two tickets!). “Bad Dream Baby,” “I’m Wrong About Everything” and You In Spite of Yourself” cruise along with solid emotional honesty and reflective humor that peaks with “People Love to Watch You Die,” which could be a Randy Newman song with its coarse look at humor nature.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Had John Wesley Harding come along a decade earlier he’d have been one of new wave’s leading singer-songwriters. Coming a decade after, he’s had to contend with being another in a long line of literate singer-songwriters with a knack for a clever concept and a quick pop hook. His album productions prefer a wall of band sound where the keyboards match up against the acoustic and electric guitars with the beats solid but never intrusive. You don’t dance to the upbeat strut of “Humble Bee” but you stand in attention as Harding shuffles from stage left to right. “Goth Girl” seems to even pine for a bygone era even as it references the more recent Nine Inch Nails (for whom Harding has two tickets!). “Bad Dream Baby,” “I’m Wrong About Everything” and You In Spite of Yourself” cruise along with solid emotional honesty and reflective humor that peaks with “People Love to Watch You Die,” which could be a Randy Newman song with its coarse look at humor nature.

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