Trouble In Paradise

Trouble In Paradise

In a career of delightfully subversive albums, Trouble In Paradise just might be the most insidious. Musically it has all the ingredients to sit comfortably alongside hit songs by Paul Simon, Bob Seger and Rickie Lee Jones, who provide guest vocals. “Mikey’s” even makes a bid for acceptance within the trendy new-wave scene. And yet the sound is just a set-up for a devastating punchline. Trouble In Paradise is about the persistence of oblivious happiness in the face of real world misery. This theme is reiterated throughout the album, particularly on the civic anthems like “Miami” and “I Love L.A.” Amazingly, many fans didn’t pick up on Newman’s blatant sarcasm. “I Love L.A.” is now used as a cheering anthem at Dodger and Laker games, beloved by locals who don’t realize the song isn’t about how great the city is. Though it is the pinnacle of Newman’s black humor, Trouble In Paradise also contains some strikingly revealing moments, including “Take Me Back” and “Real Emotional Girl.” The despair in “Same Girl” is so deep and so subtle that when it hits you, it hits like a flood.

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