Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Justin Townes Earle: "Nothing's Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me" (album review)

It's taken a while, but I think we can all talk about Justin Townes Earle's music without making reference to his parents (ooops).  His new album, Nothing's Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me, came out this week.

Get ready for an extra depressing outing this time around.  The songs tend to reflect on the past (the phrases 'used to' and 'used to be' seem to come up constantly), with a melancholy pining.

The title track is overly earnest, as is "Look the Other Way".  An organ part, the saddest this side of "A Whiter Shade Of Pale", whirls throughout "Down On the Lower East Side".  With the slower numbers, only on the melody of "Unfortunately, Anna", manages to trump the overwhelming veil of sadness.

There are some more upbeat, or at least midtempo, moments.  "Baby's Got a Bad Idea" is old time rock n' roll, with a Huey Lewis-style stock '80s horn section, lead by Earle's sad sack vocals.  We get to listen into a conversation he has with his mamma on the chugging "Movin' On".  The catchiest number is "Memphis In the Rain", which hearkens back to Mellancamp-ish heartland rock.

The best track is likely "Automobile Blues".  Earle finally flashes a sense of ironic humour as he launches into a depressing blues warbles about his car troubles.

Justin Townes Earle plays the Opera House in Toronto on May 12th.

Best tracks: "Memphis In the Rain", "Automobile Blues"

Track listing for Nothing's Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me:
  • Am I Lonely Tonight?
  • Look the Other Way
  • Nothing's Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me
  • Baby's Got a Bad Idea
  • Maria
  • Down On the Lower East Side
  • Won't Be the Last Time
  • Memphis In the Rain
  • Unfortunately, Anna
  • Movin' On
  • Automobile Blues

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