Randy Newman - Sail Away - Review
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critics' view

Randy Newman’s third studio album, Sail Away (Reprise 2064), produced by Lenny Waronker and Russ Titelman, is further confirmation — as if any more were needed — of the fact that Newman is our most sophisticated art-song composer and also the most self-consciously American. His first album, co-produced by Waronker and Van Dyke Parks, was almost too much of a good thing. Newman the songwriter, the bitter ironist, was caricatured by Newman the arranger displaying his bravura virtuosity. The result was a brilliant but overly ornate presentation that magnified the bizarre pathos at the surface of the songs while obscuring their deeper intentions. The second studio album, also produced by Waronker, was a stunningly executed change-of-pace, showcasing the bitter ironist in a new guise — that of the consummate rock-and-roller. Then came Randy Newman/Live, on which Newman sang many of the songs from the first two albums with only his own piano accompaniment. Except for those songs recorded on Nilsson Sings Newman (Newman was pianist), it was the first time one was able to approach Newman’s songs as straight compositions and to detect the sensibility of a minimal artist at work.

read Stephen Holden's full review at Rolling Stone external-link.png

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