DAVID YAZBEK

Evil Monkey Man

2008-03-22

"Explosive anger, sadness and occasional joy" is how the press release describes David Yazbek's "Evil Monkey Man." Twisted would be more like. First off, Yazbek is a diverse character. He won an Emmy for writing on Late Night with David Letterman in the early 1980s, co-wrote the theme song to Disney's "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego," and has several commercial jingles and a steady gig with Disney under his belt. He also wrote the score for the Broadway production of "The Full Monty." That being said, at first listen, while working away in my office, I was reminded of Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson. It had that East Village, bohemian feel to it that has that certain appeal. Then, I looked at the lyrics. The first song, "Terrible Thing," is seemingly about his own suicide, with catchy phrases like "there's a piece of a guy/who refused to lie/a knee and a thigh" strangely matched with a jaunty little piano riff that Billy Joel himself would be proud of. A good, if somewhat sadistic, record. Recommended if you liked "When I was Cruel" by Elvis Costello. -- Daniel J. Graeber

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