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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Record Reviews > Marshall Crenshaw

MUSIC REVIEWS

Marshall Crenshaw-Miracle of Science (Razor & Tie)

In the five years since Crenshaw's last album the music world has completely changed. It's changed even more since he released his spectacular first album in 1982. He's spent most of his career on the outside looking in, and Miracle of Science won't change anything.

Too bad, because it's a strong album. But his brand of power-pop has always straddled too many lines to completely catch on. His songwriting is still strong, "Starless Summer Sky" is one of his strongest tunes ever. He also has a sure ear for other writers' work, Grant Hart's "Twenty-Five Forty-One" is terrific. Too bad the playing and production on this album don't hold up to Crenshaw's standard. (11/96)

Jay S. Jacobs

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Copyright 1996-2003 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Revised: August 05, 2015.

Marshall Crenshaw-What's In the Bag? (Razor & Tie)

It's nice to see that over twenty years on from the self-titled debut album which had Marshall Crenshaw anointed the next big thing, Crenshaw is still releasing vital, passionate music.  He never became as huge as the pundits said he would in 1982 when he had his first (and only) top forty hit with the giddy rockabilly pop of "Someday Someway," but that's more the inexplicable inability of power pop to catch on than an indictment of the man's songwriting ability. 

He's still got the goods as one of the best pure pop songwriters of his generation, as is proven with What's In the Bag?  Crenshaw can still create a stunning song like the alt country weeper "Will We Ever?" and the achingly beautiful "The Spell Is Broken."  "Long And Complicated" has a superbly catchy hook to soothe the downbeat lyrics.  His experience of playing Buddy Holly (in the film La Bamba) adds to the sweet old-fashioned feel of "A Few Thousand Years Ago."  The crunchy instrumental "Despite the Sun" could easily pass for a fifties spy show theme. 

Crenshaw has always been known for a quirky ear for cover.  I've seen him play songs as diverse as ABBA's "Knowing Me Knowing You" and the Ramones' "The KKK Took My Baby Away" in concert over the years.  This album pulls out a couple more terrific remakes.  He does a wonderful power pop take on "Take Me With You," which was Prince's Purple Rain duet with Apollonia.  He also does a lovely supple and soulful take on George Clinton and Bootsy Collins' "I'd Rather Be With You." 

It's long past the days when anyone ever expected that Marshall Crenshaw would be a star.   But What's In the Bag? is further proof that it's well worth the effort to keep up with what he's doing.  The lyrics may be a little more downbeat... a little more adult... than his early work.  But that's just another part of the album's subtle charm.  Marshall Crenshaw has grown up with the rest of us.  (7/03)

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright 1996-2003 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Revised: August 05, 2015.