Music You Don't Know You Like Yet
2008-03-28James McMurtry’s Just Us Kids is more comparable to a movie than to music. His latest CD is like watching a movie that’s hard to take—one where you know the filmmakers are getting out an important message—but there’s no lightening of the mood to provide any relief. You trudge through the movie and at the end, you don’t regret it, but you didn’t enjoy the film. There’s a raw, uncensored, and unprocessed emotional nature to many of the songs. (His songs also recall the writing of Steven King, who endorses McMurtry.) Some lines are brilliant, but overall I found it hard to connect with the songs. I’m willing to acknowledge that, as a woman, I don’t appreciate the brutal honesty of lines like those in “Bayou Tortous”: “I was looking at every woman but mine / I was looking at the faces, looking at the parts / Looking through the whole in the bottom of my heart.” “Cheney’s Toy” is going to get more ink than the album as a whole. You can figure out what the song’s about by knowing Cheney’s toy is the president.
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