Music You Don't Know You Like Yet
2008-10-27Oh, the adorable, ubiquitous singer songwriter. Master of the mix tape, girl-friendly lyrics, and anything that could be described as “dreamy”. Joshua Radin is definitely dreamy. Almost banjo-y guitar and high hat/snare covered with an airy, boy band voice singing creamy tunes in third person (which gets really grating by tracks 4 or 5) about bathtubs and staying in bed all day. You can find a guy like this on any college campus, full of curly brown hair and cutesy, ready-made girl magnet songs. That’s what we’ve got here on Simple Times, the second release for Radin on Columbia Records. Doesn’t surprise me either, possibly the most remarkable part of this disc is the point-blank excellence of the production. I don’t know who did it, but he sounds like an angel on the soundboard. Look for this guy on the Ellen DeGeneres show, or possibly a future episode of Grey’s Anatomy, but he makes me miss the tangible goodness and witty strength of the first Jason Mraz album. Compared to him, songs like these might just be dime a dozen. But I wasn’t completely unimpressed, the desperation and hope present on “Brand New Day,” “No Envy, No Fear” and “You Got Growing Up to Do” (featuring a surprising and lovely appearance by Patty Griffin) are endearing and begging to stand out on a mix-tape or myspace page, but there are too few of these moments to be able to get through the whole thing at one time. While Simple Times does well to showcase Joshua Radin’s knack for sensitivity (and apparent affinity for Jack Johnson), he’s better off at an open mic night or college drama party than in regular rotation. I hate to say it, but his name will stick around about as long as it takes to find another one just like him. - Stef-alopogus
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