(Artwork care of Karen Ramsay (www.karenramsay.com), profile photo care of brianlackeyphotography.com)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

CD review - Todd Snider, The Excitement Plan (2009)

Todd Snider's new album covers familiar ground. The music is blues and country tinged Americana and he's still singing about well intentioned losers and telling amusing stories. While The Excitement Plan isn't as strong as 2006's The Devil You Know, it still delivers well written songs with Snider's off-kilter perspective. The backing band provides a bit of Little Feat groove to the songs, adding slide, bass, and occasional piano.

The high point of the album is the long-titled Money, Compliments, Publicity (Song Number 10). It's an amusing response to the standard philosophical advice to rise above venal attachment. The bass provides the perfect groove to carry the simple melody, which gives Snider plenty of room to lay out his lyrics:
A man once said that the pinnacle of success
Was when you finally lost interest
In money, compliments, and publicity

A noble enough idea, I suppose
How on earth he does this, Heaven only knows
I know I need a lot more of all three of those
Before I ever have the nerve to turn up my nose
At any money, a compliment, some publicity

I'm broke as the 10 Commandments
Sometimes I'm harder to follow...
Another funny song is America's Favorite Pastime, about Dock Ellis' experience pitching a no-hitter for the Pittsburgh Pirates while tripping on LSD. Rather than simple reporting, Todd extrapolates the basic idea into an omniscient third person narrative.

Most of the album aims to amuse and entertain. As a result, The Excitement Plan doesn't really spend much time on one of Snider's other recurrent theme's: seeking and sometimes finding redemption. But it is a fun listen that you'll probably enjoy. Grab yourself a cold PBR and have a drink with Todd.

Other listening recommendations:
Little Feat, Willin', live version (original is on Sailin' Shoes)
Todd Snider, Looking For A Job, The Devil You Know

1 comment:

  1. I have been a fan of Snider's since I saw him open for John Prine in 2004. I love storytellers and he is quite the wordsmith. I'll put this CD on my to-buy list. Thanks.