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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Bobby Bare Jr.
Young Criminals Starvation League

Rating: 8.5/10 ?

August 30, 2002
The foci of Bobby Bare, Jr.'s Young Criminals' Starvation League are the state of the music industry and the privation of the deposed and lonely, and in both cases the outsider is champion. Bare's characters are the forgotten the marginalized and the desperate for whom he empathizes with wry verse in a voice equally comfortable with rasps and yelps as with soft provincial folds. All tunes are in short catchy pop format resulting in a tight and clean overall effect.

His songs stem from the plebeian ethics founded by his country music grandfathers and espoused by his biological father, the original Bobby Bare. The outsider is raised to the role of the hero and the folks on the throne are brought under a harsh light.

The album opens with "I Will be Around," told from the point of view of one abandoned by another for the spotlight crowd; quote, "And when all your famous friends have all stopped dropping in/ I will be around on your way down." Another standout in the musical self-examination mode is,

"Dig Down," which bemoans the depleted state of rock music, claiming, "Black Francis you were the last motherfucker out/ Grabbing all the good stuff and leaving no doubt/ That if Rock and Roll dies it's not my fault/ I do the best with the left-overs that I got."

Bare makes sure we know where his devotions do not lie: in Nashville. This is reinforced by the photo on the back of the album showing a fork on highway 278: west to Nashville, east to Hope; abandon hope, all ye who enter. As he states on track 10 ("Stay in Texas"): "Let's stay in Texas/ I wanna stay in Texas/ Let's stay in Texas/ I wanna stay in Texas/ Far away places seem faceless/ So I wanna stay in Texas."

Bobby also does two excellent covers on this album: Morrissey's "What Difference Does it Make," and a song written by fellow Texan Shel Silverstein entitled, "Painting her Fingernails." The winners of the album however are his character songs such as "Flat Chested Girl from Maynardville," "Mehan," and "The Monk at the Disco," all intelligent and kind (and humorous in the case of the latter).

Reviewed by N.D. Burkey
A longtime infrequent contributor to LAS, Neil David Burkey is a painter, writer, sculptor and all-around artistic type. He currently lives in London, England, where he is, at long last, a legal resident.

See other reviews by N.D. Burkey



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