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