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Population Me CD

4.5 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews

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Audio CD, CD, June 24, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

The honky-tonk rebel again manages to cover a surprising expanse of musical territory on the first new release for his Electrodisc imprint. Highlights range from a poetic duet with Willie Nelson on "If Teardrops Were Diamonds" to the Dixieland brass of the title track, from the folkie lilt of "An Exception to the Rule" to a revival of Burt Bacharach's "Trains and Boats and Planes" (a 1960s hit for Billy J. Kramer), driven by the banjo of Earl Scruggs. Such eclecticism shows Yoakam and producer/guitarist Pete Anderson in playful spirits, with even the downbeat lyrics of "The Late Great Golden State" and "Stayin' Up Late (Thinkin' About It)" set to upbeat arrangements. Even the brooding balladry of "Fair to Midland" has more wordplay than angst, while "I'd Avoid Me Too" presents the singer as such a sad sack he'd have to laugh to keep from crying. No major statements or artistic progressions on this summer breeze of an album--its 10 songs barely lasting half an hour--just a whole lot of fun as Yoakam stretches his trademark twang in all sorts of different directions. --Don McLeese
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 24, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Koch Records
  • ASIN: B00009KTWH
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,724 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Some men get drunk and punch walls when love and life go sour ... I don't know that there are any fist-shaped holes where Dwight lives, but I suspect he made this album instead. Only the first cut on Population Me does not address love and loss, and only one of the rest, Exception to the Rule, expresses even cautious hope where love is concerned. And though Dwight as usual is a master of indirect truth and self-mockery, some of the songs may be as personal as we've ever heard.
Late Great Golden State has a nice retro feel to it especially in the backup singers -- the sound and style match the lyrics' feel of being out of place in time. I especially enjoyed the bright pedal steel and brisk drumming.
No Such Thing is bouncy and danceable, but has a sardonic undertone with Dwight's broad accent: "There's no such thaaaang as me and you". It's a hurt reaction to the sting of love denied, masquerading as a snappy little tune.
Fair to Midland gave me a whole new reason to fall in love with Dwight's voice... singing in his deeper register, the vocals are rich and grave, and at points balanced by a lovely mandolin & pedal steel counterpoint. The straightforward singing and slow pace make this song deceptively simple, but the lyrics are full of imagery.
Exception to the Rule could be subtitled "The Pessimist Puts On Rose-Colored Glasses" ... and the lyrics are classic Dwight, tight and complex with internal rhyming. Very nice keyboard bit in the middle.
The title track, Population Me, rendered me speechless for awhile and I think it may be one of the best things Dwight has ever done in the heartbreak genre.
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Format: Audio CD
Dwight Yoakam has strung together one of the most successful and interesting careers in music, and his latest release is another cog in the Yoakam ecclectic, "cosmic cowboy" country machine. He continues to push the creative envelop, mixing his rich and varied vocals with a incredibly skilled band.
The album clocks in at just over 30 minutes, brief by today's standards, but more artists should take note of this move. Critics will say he needed more, but I disagree. He keeps the music moving and weaving, ending the album at the right time before the listener starts looking for the skip button on the CD player. Too many artists stock an album with 12 or 14 tracks, usually four of which are throwaways. Not the case with "Population Me". From the opening "The Late Great Golden State" which has a nod to the sound of the Eagles to the powerful and standout track "The Back of Your Hand", this album works like a continuous song, and when its over, you feel like you have to listen to it again it went by so quick. The title track is a great nod to the traditional country sound of yesteryear, but with a Yoakam twist and musical building that compels the listener to hit repeat. The duet with Willie Nelson is classic, and the other songs all fulfill the meandering and varied sound of this album.
The album doesn't have a "bad" song, and in fact, all are quite strong and interesting. Yoakam's vocals are simply exquisite, and with the strong musicianship with them, the sound is a satisfying country and western romp that is seriously lacking in today's C&W radio format. From powerful ballads, tear-in-your-beer diatribes, to upbeat driving melodies, this album delivers--and in classic Dwight Yoakam fashion.
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Format: Audio CD
This may be a new label for Dwight Yoakam, but his signature sound is still in place. And that's just fine. In the opening track, Yoakam sings, "I ain't old, I'm just out of date." I beg to differ. He might be getting old (47 as of this writing), but his brand of honest country will never be out of date. With Timothy B. Schmit lending background vocals on "The Late Great Golden State," and the banjo chiming in the background, this song is reminiscent of Poco/Eagles. Another non-original is the seemingly odd choice, "Trains and Boats and Planes" by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. But with the fiddles and Pete Anderson adding his mandolin flourishes along with Earl Scruggs' guest appearance on banjo, this could be a huge country hit. [Oh, yeah, I forgot...country radio doesn't like fiddles and mandolins and especially banjos.] The other non-original is the stark "The Back of Your Hand," used to close the album.
The other seven tracks are all Yoakam originals. Standouts include the upbeat "No Such Thing," the toe-tapping "An Exception to the Rule," the heartache of "I'd Avoid Me Too" and "If Teardrops Were Diamonds," a gorgeous duet with Willie Nelson, puncuated with Gary Morse's weeping pedal steel.
If there is any criticism to be leveled at Yoakam's debut release for Audium Records (after more than a dozen albums for Reprise), it's the brevity of the album. At ten songs and just under 32 minues, it is short. But you can't argue with the quality. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
As usual Dwight Yoakam shines in his latest offering. And as usual, don't expect country music radio stations to give him a tenth of the air time he deserves. With a few exceptions, country radio only plays songs filled with cliches and simple-minded ideas. "The Back of Your Hand" has done well commercially so far, having just hit #1 on the video countdown. An argument can be made that it is the cd's best song. However, the brilliance of the title track "Population Me" is undeniable. The song is a wonderful compilation of great lyrics, an assortment of instruments, and a tone that stays with the listener long after it ends. My son says it's "like a love song you'd here in a cowboy ghosttown movie." My two other favorites on the cd are "Fair to Midland" and the duet with Willie Nelson, "If Teardrops Were Diamonds." I hesitate to mention only four songs from the cd, since every song is worthy of praise. So many country cds today run together with songs that all sound alike. It's a pleasure to have an artist like Dwight Yoakam around who experiments with different genres. Loyal Dwight Yoakam fans know that he is the most consistent, talented country music artist of the past twenty years.
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