Randy Newman – Bad Love (1999)

FrontCover1Bad Love is the tenth studio album by American singer-songwriter Randy Newman, released in 1999. It was Newman’s first solo album since 1988’s Land of Dreams and followed an 11-year hiatus during which Newman had focused on film soundtracks, receiving several Academy Award nominations.

The album finds Newman bitter and satirical – as “biting as ever, yet unafraid to tackle personal and heartfelt concerns”. Newman tackles issues such as the state of American culture in “My Country”, which chronicles suburbia’s growing dependence on television[citation needed], and “The World Isn’t Fair”, which takes a look at the world through the eyes of Karl Marx. Another subject is aging – “Shame” takes a negative look at an “older man courting a younger woman” via the barbed lyrics and an exchange between the lead vocalist and the backing singer.[citation needed] “I’m Dead (But I Don’t Know It)” is more self-referential in dealing with aging rock stars and commenting: “Everything I write sounds the same / Each record that I’m making / Is like a record that I’ve made / Just not as good”.

“Every Time It Rains” was composed for Michael Jackson but he declined to record it,[2] while “I Miss You” was composed for Newman’s ex-wife.[citation needed]

It received generally positive reviews from critics. Scott Manzler stated “Bad Love ultimately falls short of Newman’s early ’70s masterworks,” while AllMusic stated the songs on Bad Love “should rest comfortably alongside his other four-star offerings.” (by wikipedia)

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Randy Newman’s sidecar success as a film composer reflects his unerring sense of arrangement and orchestration, which when paired with his satirically bent protagonists has proven a one-of-a-kind sweet & sour combination. Having spent the better part of a decade immersed in film scores and his criminally ignored musical treatment of Faust, Newman seems liberated to be back at his song craft on Bad Love. The album’s showpiece, an open letter to Karl Marx titled “The World Isn’t Fair,” operates — as with all his best material — simultaneously on many different levels; at once sad, irreverent, funny, insightful, beautiful … and all too true. Such depth is a rarity in a three-minute song; so much goes into a single track that you’re almost amazed when it’s followed by another. The 12 tales of Bad Love would mark a career milestone for most anyone, yet it’s all in a day’s work for Newman. The aberrant affections implied by the title are everywhere; the pleading letch of “Shame,” shedding every shred of dignity; the unrequited (“Better Off Dead”), perplexed (“The One You Love”), and wistful (“Every Time It Rains”); the paean to the ex, “I Miss You,” and of course, self-love (“I Want Everyone to Like Me”). This cast joins the patriarch of “My Country,” whose grown-up kids “have TVs of their own, but they keep coming over anyway,” the career liar of “Big Hat, No Cattle,” and the socio-political histories of “Great Nations of Europe” (imperialists spreading their diseases). “I’m Dead (But I Don’t Know It)” finds the songwriter pondering his relevance in an accelerated age where subtlety and wit seem to be elusive luxuries. Still, Newman reigns in his cynicism on Bad Love, his most consistent work since 1974’s Good Old Boys. If the world was fair, Newman, who has never sold huge numbers of albums, would be widely acknowledged for his genius. In the meantime, nothing’s stopping you.(by Jeff McCord)

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Personnel:

Stu Blumberg (trumpet)
Oscar Brashear (trumpet)
Greg Cohen (bass)
Steve Donnelly (guitar)
Brandon Fields (saxophone)
Bruce Fowler (trombone)
Mitchell Froom (keyboards)
Martin Krystall (saxophone)
Greg Leisz (pedal steel guitar)
Randy Newman (vocals, piano)
Jack Nimitz (saxophone)
Brian Scanlon (saxophone)
Tom Scott (saxophone)
James Self (tuba)
George Thatcher (trombone)
Pete Thomas (drums)
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background vocals:
Carmen Carter – Donna Davidson – Linda Harmon – Scottie Haskell – Luana Jackman – Teresa James – Melissa Mackay – Kate Markowitz – Bobbi Page – Sally Stevens-Eskew – Carmen Twillie – Terry Wood – Herb Pedersen

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Tracklist:
01. My Country 5.40
02. Shame 4.54
03. I’m Dead (But I Don’t Know It) 3.25
04. Every Time It Rains 3.33
05. The Great Nations Of Europe 3.26
06. The One You Love 3.39
07. The World Isn’t Fair 2.44
08. Big Hat, No Cattle 4.24
09. Better Off Dead 4.03
10. I Miss You 3.55
11. Going Home 2.06
12. I Want Everyone To Like Me 2.59

All songs written by Randy Newman

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Let’s go back to yesterday
When a phone call cost a dime
In New Orleans, just a nickel
Turn back the hands of time
Turn back the hands of time

Picture a room
With a window
A sofa and some chairs
A television turned on for the night
Picture a woman, two children seated
A man lying there
Their faces softly glowing in the light

This is my country
These are my people
This is the world I understand
This is my country
These are my people
And I know ’em like the back of my own hand

If we had something to say
We’d bounce it off the screen
We were watching and we couldn’t look away
We all know what we look like
You know what I mean
We wouldn’t have had it any other way

We got comedy, tragedy
Everything from A to B
Watching other people living
Seeing other people play
Having other people’s voices fill our minds
Thank you Jesus

Feelings might go unexpressed
I think that’s probably for the best
Dig too deep who knows what you will find

This is my country
Those were my people
Theirs was a world I understand

Picture a room, no window
A door that leads outside
A man lying on a carpet on the floor
Picture his three grown boys behind him
Bouncing words off a screen
Of a television big as all outdoors

Now your children are your children
Even when they’re grown
When they speak to you
You got to listen to what they have to say
But they all live alone now
They have TVs of their own
But they keep on coming over anyway
And much as I love them
I’m always kind of glad when they go away

This is my country
These are my people
This is the world I understand
This is my country
These are my people
And I know ’em like the back of my own hand
I know ’em like the back of my own hand

 

 

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