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Harps and Angels by Randy Newman
Released: Jan 2008
Label: Nonesuch
To assess a Randy Newman album, divide the likely delight of fans by the potential outrage of everyone else, then multiply the result by how often you sense him being sincere. By that measure, this one excels. The gags (a patriotic insistence that our current leaders don't look so bad compared to King Leopold; a lament that "no one gives a sh*t but Jackson Browne") are part of a grander theme evoked by the music and the harps and angels of the title. They're hokey, jokey symbols that can still move you, and they don't just mourn the death of our empire -- they promise something better upon its demise.
Tim Quirk
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