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Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables

3.8 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 6, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

2012 album from the American singer/songwriter. For years, Todd Snider has been one of the most beloved Country-Folk singers in the country. He has become not only a modern-day Dylan but a modern-day Will Rogers, an everyman whose Intelligence, self-deprecation, experience and humor makes him a uniquely American character.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 6, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Aimless Records
  • ASIN: B006W1NQCK
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,694 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
If you look at the arc of Todd's career, you see well produced sharp albums in the beginning to slowly deteriorating sound at the end. The songs are great, but the production is a mess. It is frustrating sometimes to have records that just don't sound good, and I've found that it takes a few plays and they grow on you.

This is better than THE EXCITEMENT PLAN, and the lyrics are what really save this. Lines like "good things happen to bad people" in "New York Banker" ring pretty true. "Precious Little Miracles" is a jazzy, great track which Snider sings mostly in falsetto, and rather well too. The only real clunker here is "Digger Dave's Crazy Woman Blues," which is too long and a little too contrived.

The first track, "In the Beginning" is worth the price of the CD alone, as it sharply brings to light the problems with the Prosperity Gospel. This is as much an Agnostic Hymn as anything.

Todd's timing and his vocal delivery remain unique as always. I just love how he phrases words, the inflection, and the troubador in him comes out. The sound is meatier, and the fiddle playing of Ananda Shires gives the record a unified sound, much like Bob Dylan's DESIRE album.

I only wish that Todd would take the time to craft a good sounding record. It's not a crime to mic the drums well, or to take some time to mix things a little clearer. Todd is an artist that needs to be heard, and it's kind of hard to hear him on some of these tracks.

Still, buy the CD. A document of our times, and a look into the mind of one of the sharpest observers of humans out there.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I've been a dedicated TS fan since the Daily Planet days and have bought everything he's recorded ever since. On this latest release (AH&SF), a few examples of his wit and humor are still alive and well in lyrical content but much of the music on this album is purposefully sloppy - like a stoned jam session (which I suspect may be an accurate description of much of this actual recording). In some cases this loose musical feel is used to good effect (In The Beginning, Precious Little Miracles, In Between Jobs) but Todd is also a fantastic musician and personally, I'd rather hear more of his ability to write and play well executed music than is featured on this outing. Still love you, Todd - and I'll be pre-ordering whatever comes next - but AH&SF is not likely to become one of my favorites.
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Format: MP3 Music
I'll start out with what many others have said..."I'm a huge Todd Snider fan." While living in Portland, I'd drive past Beaverton high schools wondering which one gave fodder to this story teller's wit and lyricism...every tunnel driven through I looked for the words "Todd Snider Rule(s,z?). I eagerly look forward to Snider's new releases with much excitement and will give a listen to what ever is next. I'll branch out to Elmo Buzz, Great American Taxi, and download many live shows from the website. If in hard times Todd became the permanent front man of KK Rider, I'd look forward to that too--tassels, hat and even the rough-and-tumble women.

But being a fan, I can't bring myself to blow smoke up my favorite artist's a$$ with a fan boy's five-star review. This one doesn't deserve it and is not even close. Nor is this is an album to purchase--maybe about 3 individual songs here, but in to way the album in its entirety. Out of a 10-song album, that's a bust. I certainly buy into Snider's message and have been on board for a very long ride. Yet, this album takes the slump that began with Peace Queer (even thuugh it had a couple gems) to a lower level. This album presents a forced message through concept songs that seem to lose Snider's real zest; his personal insight of having "lived them;" his wit & humor; and the quality of his musicianship. Someone else wrote "pandering to..." and that seems accurate.

Despite "grow-on-you claims," this one doesn't work for me in a generic, bland way; nor does it strike that personal chord. For some it may indeed age like wine, but bad wine is still plainly this release. If my review is tainted by my high expectations for Snider, so be it.
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Everywhere I look, people are saying that this album is Todd Snider's show of support for Occupy Wall Street. First off, I recently read an interview with Todd where he explicitly called OWS "dumb", though he sympathizes with the idea of hippies and frisbees and weed in a park. With that said, as Todd tells nearly every audience, he is not singing to change your mind about anything, he's singing to ease his own mind about everything. This album includes some tracks such as "New York Banker" and "In Between Jobs" which lash out against a certain type of wealthy person because he felt the need to do that, and I can promise that he doesn't care if we like it or not. Personally, thought I don't completely agree (or disagree, for that matter) with Mr. Snider on a political level, I consider his commentary to be far more valid than anything I've heard out of the news media in years, and "In the Beginning" in particular will make you think. As for the songs, they're excellent. Some of them, such as "Precious Little Miracles" and "In the Beginning" are not musically polished, but that only contributes to their respective messages. His cover of Jimmy Buffett's "West Nashville Grand Ballroom Gown", is one of the best songs I've ever heard, and it only gets better when you listen to it for the fourth time and finally decide to parse out all of the lyrics. As it happens, I think Jimmy Buffett's version of the song is awful, and that Todd brings an emotional depth to it that Jimmy has probably never approached any song with, ever.

Look, just buy the album. Sure it's political, but it's extraordinarily fair in that vain. He's just channeling the ideas that nobody else has the guts to channel. More importantly, the music is wonderful. I hope I've convinced you to give more money to Todd Snider. After all, wouldn't it be ironic if we bumped him up into the 1% off of the sales of this album?
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