Top critical review
11 people found this helpful
on June 18, 2013
Let me start by saying that I believe Patty Griffin is one of the finest singers and songwriters of all time. I believe her voice is among the greatest instruments in music history. It aches, it soothes, it soars. Her writing is incredible. It cuts deep, it makes observations others cannot, her melodies are amazingly beautiful. She is truly a great artist.
I have been a fan for more than a decade now and I obsess about her career. 1,000 Kisses quickly became a fixture in my listening and I viewed it as one of the greatest albums of all time. Impossible Dream was great but couldn't match her previous release's amazing beauty. She didn't release another album for awhile and I expected her impact to lessen as often happens, but when I heard "Children Running Through" my fandom soared. She had done the impossible and topped her previous peak with a sprawling, gorgeous group of songs that flowed beautifully. It rocked some ("Getting Ready") but more often it touched your heart. "No Bad News", "Heavenly Day", "Trapeze" and "Up To The Mountain" immediately became classics as great and timeless as anything she had ever done. Yet with songs like "Stay on the Ride" and "Someone Else's Tomorrow" she was still pushing boundaries and trying new things.
After that album, she did a gospel record, mostly covers, called "Downtown Church". It was fine for what it was but it really wasn't a true Patty Griffin album, given the style and the amount of original material. Finally after a hiatus playing with Robert Plant, Patty was putting out a new album of primarily original material. I was excited.
After listening to the album many times, I cannot remain as excited. For the first time since I became a fan, I find myself skipping tracks while listening ("Mom and Dad's Waltz" and "Get Ready Marie" and sometimes "Irish Boy". There are some good songs, "I am not a Bad Man", "That Kind of Lonely" and "Go Wherever You Want to Go" being my favorites, but I feel like these would be on par with her previous records mid-level songs, not the highlights of the record. I feel she is working to a different style with songs like "Ohio", "Highway Song" and "Faithful Son" and I think they are all nice songs, but none of them really stand out at all. They fall a bit flat for me.
I will never give up on Patty. She is too great. I am hoping that my own opinion on this record will change, but for now, this is my least favorite record of her career and her least impactful. I saw her live last week and she was great, but again the show was by far the least exciting I've seen her do in the last decade or so.
Now I begin to look forward to another release by Patty. Hope it won't be so many years until the next one.