PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

Steve Martin and Edie Brickell: Love Has Come for You

Jerrick Adams

Love Has Come for You is a well-played, competently written effort, and while it may not rank as a masterpiece, it’s far from embarrassing.


Steve Martin and Edie Brickell

Love Has Come for You

Label: Rounder
US Release Date: 2013-04-23
UK Release Date: 2013-04-29
Label Website
Artist Website
Amazon
iTunes

More often than not (a lot more often than not), musical recordings by actors, comedians, or other such artists amount to little more than vanity projects. Remember Eddie Murphy’s foray into pop, or Bruce Willis’s R&B album?

Yeah, no one else does either, and for good reason. Such ill-conceived releases are perhaps the most telling expression of the egomania that grips so many of our culture’s artists and celebrities. Fortunately, Steve Martin’s latest musical offering, written and recorded in collaboration with Edie Brickell, is an exception. Love Has Come for You is a well-played, competently written effort, and while it may not rank as a masterpiece, it’s far from embarrassing.

First off, it should be noted that Martin is a very fine banjo player. Throughout the album, his picking is understated and evocative. His melodies are first-rate -- tuneful, tasteful, and winningly modest. Rather than rip out blistering, overeager solos (a risk you always run when it comes to the banjo), Martin is content to lay back, play soft, and let the music speak for itself. The other players follow suit, contributing uniformly elegant parts. Even the string section, which when utilized so often pushes a recording to the breaking point of credibility, exercises commendable restraint. The resulting music is, quite simply, remarkably charming. It won’t change the world, but it’s not trying to, and such unpretentiousness is a real treat.

But because the instrumentation is so unassuming, it’s up to the vocalist to push things over the edge and make the effort truly noteworthy. Edie Brickell, for all her virtues, fails to do that consistently on Love Has Come for You.

Make no mistake, she certainly has her moments here. The lead track, “When You Get to Asheville”, is graced by her smoky, muted vocal and the wistful melody she imparts to the lyrics. “Remember Me This Way”, the album’s closer, is similarly successful. Brickell’s melancholy attack, together with the mournful accompaniment, gets the song across just about perfectly (though the insipid harmony vocals that creep in on the refrain here, and too many times elsewhere on the album, blunt the impact temporarily).

On the whole, however, Brickell is hampered by a very limited expressive range. Regardless of the tempo or lyric, she gives the songs the same vaguely sad, atmospheric treatment time and again. Consequently, the tracks become difficult to distinguish. The problem is compounded by the fact that the songs themselves, while always competent and occasionally quite strong, aren't distinctive enough to make up for the lack of vocal presence. The results ultimately discourage active listening.

That’s a real shame, because as I noted earlier, the music really is top-notch. It’s worth hearing. And Brickell, though she leaves an awful lot to be desired, does not sink the record. Even at its worst this is enjoyable stuff, and there’s a lot to be said for that. But this album clearly had the potential to be more than merely enjoyable. Its failure to be something greater sticks in the craw.

5

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.

Film

15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.

Music

Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.

Music

Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.

Music

Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.

Music

Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.

Music

Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.

Film

The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.

Music

British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.

Film

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.

Music

​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.

Music

The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.

Music

Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.

Television

How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.

Music

Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.

Music

CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.

Music

Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.

Music

While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.