Customer Reviews: Left to His Own Devices
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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on April 11, 2002
I read some criticisms of this CD and was completely baffled. I too have been a fan of Vic's since he released his first CD, Little. I have every album and this one may be his best yet. Vic, I don't know how you do it. These songs are so heart-breakingly beautiful, I cry every time I hear them. I'm particularly amazed that Vic wrote all of these songs, recorded them in his living room by himself and mixed the CD on a desktop computer. A one-man miracle. Thank you, Vic for making the most uplifting, inpsiring, beautiful, thoughtful music I've had the pleasure of listening to in a long, long time.
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on June 9, 2002
This is a great home recording!Every song stands out!I've only recently discovered this man and i know without a doubt he is definately the greatest singer, songwriter on this earth!Vic has more insight and heart than any other musician i've heard,I'm 43 years old and i've heard alot of music but nothing as good as Vic Chesnutt!Buy two copies of this cd and all his other cds.His music is hard to find in just any record store, so get it while you can!
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on April 25, 2001
Whatever my expectations as to what constitutes a Chesnutt album, this CD eluded them. This is easily the furthest from the locus of Vic's canon to date. Distortion is a key track which provides the theme of this work. Every song is muddied, confused and hidden behind a layer of verbal obscurity and scratchy instrumentation. The most obvious comparison (and one which other reviewers will make) is to Daniel Johnston's home-made cassettes, in which the recording quality is both unendurable and an essential part of the experience. People who buy this CD should feel proud that they have made the effort to find music that will never disturb the shallow waters in which modern pop music floats. This is a musician/poet who is saying something. To understand this music requires an investment, but there is a pay off. What Chesnutt is writing about is not immediate or obvious. And it's not just the words, which may never be deciphered, it's a sensibility- a series of mental states. Join him in his subcutaneous homesick shoes.
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on April 27, 2001
Artists evolve, and Vic's last 2 albums--_Salesman and Bernadette_, and _Merriment_--signaled an evolution of Vic's style, relying on fuller accompaniment and a less folksy sound. But with _Left to His Own Devices_, Vic returns to familiar territory for his longtime fans. Many of the 15 tracks bring the attention back to the rich, compelling lyrics for which Vic is so well-known.
On all but two tracks of this minimally mastered home recording, Vic plays all the instruments (with Tina Chesnutt contributing lead guitar and bass on a couple of songs). "Cash," "In Amongst the Millions," and "My Last Act" are as at home on this album as on _West of Rome_ or _Is the Actor Happy?_ This is the Vic album I've been waiting for since _About to Choke_.
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on September 29, 2001
I was a little leary about this CD. Why? Because so far Vic Chesnutt has made some of the most wonderful CDs I've ever heard. So how do you top those? How can one man even keep up that sort of streak?
I was shocked to find that "left to his own devices" is as good or better than the best Vic Chesnutt CD out. And that is saying a lot. From VERY FRIENDLY LIGHTHOUSES, a great folksy tune to the wonderful and a bit sad LOOK AT ME. And the lyrics of Vic Chesnutt continue to be as funny and biting as ever.
Why doesn't everyone listen to Vic? I just don't understand how such great music can stay so obscure. Maybe I'll get some speakers, attach them to my car, and blast Mr. Chesnutt's "devices" down the streets of California. Someone needs to.
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on July 14, 2016
Decent but not chesnutt's best. Newbies would be better off purchasing About to Choke or Little
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on July 23, 2003
I'm somewhat disappointed by this album. I, too, like lo-fi, and I like most of Vic's releases.
Too many songs on this CD sound like they were recorded in a shoebox. There are definitely some keepers here and lyrically Vic is in top form, but it's a real chore to listen to this CD from start to finish. My Last Act is a harrowing, disturbing song. Musically, there are a lot of good ideas that aren't fully developed.
In regards to the lyrics this is a five star CD. Musically it rates one star.
If you have never heard any of Vic's music, you do NOT want to start here.
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on March 7, 2003
I like Vic. I like lo-fi. I don't like "Left to His Own Devices." These aren't the mordant, stinging songs of "Drunk" and "Is the Actor Happy?", both amazing records. These songs wander and wobble; Vic's voice is weak, the guitar is murky, and the whole enterprise seems water-soaked. Some great musicians aren't great recording engineers or producers; it's worth your while to look for Vic Chesnutt's better records, though.
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