11 Songs, 49 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Outsider might be Rodney Crowell’s most musically simplistic album, but it’s also his most lyrically ambitious. Bob Dylan is a shadow hanging over this record, and his influence seems to have become a preoccupation for Crowell in middle age. On “Beautiful Despair” he sings: “Beautiful despair is hearing Dylan when you're drunk at 3 a.m./Knowing that the chances are no matter what you'll never write like him/Oh brother.” Other songs address what Crowell sees as the deteriorating state of the world. “The Obscenity Prayer” is an acidic satire of American materialism, while “Don’t Get Me Started” deals with everything from the national debt to overseas wars and is by far the most overtly political statement Crowell has ever put on record. The Dylan influence is made more explicit on a cover of “Shelter from the Storm,” sung with Crowell’s longtime benefactor Emmylou Harris. For all of Crowell’s lyrical ambitions, The Outsider fares best when he matches straightforward lyrics to straightforward riffs, as on “Say You Love Me,” a hopped-up merger of Byrds melody and amplified grit.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Outsider might be Rodney Crowell’s most musically simplistic album, but it’s also his most lyrically ambitious. Bob Dylan is a shadow hanging over this record, and his influence seems to have become a preoccupation for Crowell in middle age. On “Beautiful Despair” he sings: “Beautiful despair is hearing Dylan when you're drunk at 3 a.m./Knowing that the chances are no matter what you'll never write like him/Oh brother.” Other songs address what Crowell sees as the deteriorating state of the world. “The Obscenity Prayer” is an acidic satire of American materialism, while “Don’t Get Me Started” deals with everything from the national debt to overseas wars and is by far the most overtly political statement Crowell has ever put on record. The Dylan influence is made more explicit on a cover of “Shelter from the Storm,” sung with Crowell’s longtime benefactor Emmylou Harris. For all of Crowell’s lyrical ambitions, The Outsider fares best when he matches straightforward lyrics to straightforward riffs, as on “Say You Love Me,” a hopped-up merger of Byrds melody and amplified grit.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.5 out of 5
12 Ratings

12 Ratings

A Sparrow ,

This One A Must!

Rodney's last three cd's are killer! He is without a doubt the best thing going in the country/rock genera. He is writing songs for people who are awake and thinking, people who like to get into the words of a song and share it with friends. Keep on Rodney, and come back to Minnesota again soon, we miss ya already!

baahaus ,

Thanks

I've heard of Crowell for years but never really had been exposed to his talent until recently. I heard his music on a radio show (Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour) and now I'm a fan. This album is the first of his in my collection and it has restored my faith in the power of music. Sometimes humorous, sometimes cutting, and sometimes just plain great, there isn't a dud in this whole album. I'm going to stock up on all of his previous work now. Thanks Mr. Crowell!

hbrand ,

Love this...

Another great album by Rodney. I bought his first recordings when they came out on lp and I've never stopped getting them yet! The weakest of his albums in my mind were "Jewel of the South" and "Life is Messy", and even those are good! I recommend this recording highly, as I do his other two most recent, "The Houston Kid" and "Fate's Right Hand". He always writes great songs, sings elegantly, and has top-flight musicians.

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