Todd Snider - Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables
The CD of the Month for March is Todd Snider's Agnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables.
FROM THE NEW YORKER: The first song of Todd Snider’s new album, “Agnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables,” is appropriately titled “In the Beginning,” and it’s a gumbo of eschatology and economics that speculates that religion may have originated with a desire to protect the wealthy. Released in the midst of the G.O.P. primary season, with Occupy Wall Street a fresh memory, the song is at least timely and likely revolutionary. Over the course of the album, Snider returns to this theme of injustice and its discontents: “New York Banker” follows the title character as he goes marauding across the country; the insistent chorus, grimly true, is “Good things happen to bad people”; and the greasy “In Between Jobs” lets the pent-up rage erupt a little.
The populist streak on “Agnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables” is stronger here than on some of Snider’s recent albums, and the overall tone is darker. But Snider also takes on youth culture (“Precious Little Miracles,” as gloriously world-weary as the best Randy Newman works), rock-and-roll history (“Brenda,” a straightforward love song about the personal and professional bond between Mick Jagger and Keith Richards), and general misadventure (“Digger Dave’s Crazy Woman Blues,” which plays like a local-news version of Bob Dylan’s “Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts”), and there are several devastating portraits of doomed romance, including “The Very Last Time” (“I had a dream where you came to see me / You asked if I was okay / That’s how I knew that I was dreaming / You asked if I was okay”). Throughout, Amanda Shires provides violin and backup vocals, a la Scarlet Rivera on “Desire,” and there’s even a Jimmy Buffet cover (“West Nashville Grand Ballroom Gown”).
1. In The Beginning
2. New York Banker
3. West Nashville Grand Ballroom Gown
4. Precious Little Miracles
5. The Very Last Time
6. In Between Jobs
8. Too Soon To Tell
9. Digger Dave's Crazy Woman Blues
10. Big Finish