Thursday, March 06, 2008

Mike Doughty - Golden Delicious

A few weeks ago Mike Doughty released his newest album "Golden Delicious". I've been a fan of Mike Doughty for years. I didn't know any of his music when I saw him live back around 2000 when he opened for They Might Be Giants, but he was good. A few years later friends started recommending songs of his to me and I loved them and started to get his albums, and that's the whole story in a nutshell.

His last two LPs (if you count Skittish/Rockity Roll as one since it is now usually sold as a set) were home-spun pop music that could make almost anyone bop their head and want to sing along. He's always had the talent of being very catchy and infectious, anyone who's heard "Circles" from his Soul Coughing days will agree, but the lyrics and their honest down-to-earth quality along with the very genuine feeling of the way he sings leads itself to really great pop music that is also singer-songwriter rock/folk music. This is what I have come to expect and love from Mike Doughty.

Golden Delicious has some of that. There are plenty of great earnest lyrics, but there also is a bit more production and repetitiveness that puts me off. His last two efforts (Skittish/Rockity Roll and Haunty Melodic) had less production, at points even sounded like they were recorded in haste, and focused more on the lyrics and guitar and didn't worry about much else. This is easily felt with the addition of one of my favorite (and no doubt, many others as well) songs of his "27 Jennifers" which he re-recorded and included on this record as well. Whereas it was always a favorite of mine, it has lost a lot of its character in the the more produced way he has done it for Golden Delicious. On Skittish/Rockity Roll it felt like a ballad to a girl he once loved and was cute and sweet, but on Golden Delicious it loses sincerity and feels more like a bouncy little ditty and the girl feels less significant...all because of the way it's performed and produced.

All in all, it's a good album, but doesn't stand up against his last albums excellence in my opinion. Regardless of that, I am excited to have a ticket to see him in April when he comes to town and I think seeing those songs performed live will bring back a lot of their character.

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