2009-05-04While this is Rhett Miller's fourth solo album, showcasing the good and bad of life and love, for some reason he's waited until now to release a self-titled collection of songs. In the end, it doesn't really matter as the acclaimed singer/songwriter and Old 97's front man gives his listeners a mostly enjoyable spin on this short but sweet twelve-song set. The first single, "I Need to Know Where I Stand," is certain to garner plenty of airplay as well as find its way onto a soundtrack or two. Nevertheless, there's better stuff here such as the equally appealing "If it's Not Love." Then there's the punk rock sounding "Happy Birthday Don't Die," which offers listeners a different side of Miller - an edgier and grungier aural experience that ends in what sounds like a jam session. My personal favorite is the nearly perfect "Refusing Temptation" that showcases the singer/songwriter at his best as he beckons: "Why am I refusing temptation / when it's all around me / it would be so easy to say 'yes' but I never say 'yes' / I just float here like ice." There's also the calm and mellow side of Miller that surfaces on tracks like the beautiful and melancholy "Bonfire" and then again on the lush and hope-filled "Lashes." While an initial listen of Miller's latest may prove less than exciting, let me suggest to you that this is the kind of recording that somehow sounds better after each listen. Give it a chance and I'm convinced that you won't be left wanting. ~ Reviewed by Jeff Bouma
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