In a sense, Jimmy Buffett has succeeded by inventing his own audience rather than addressing an existing one, carving out a hybrid style that is true to his Mobile, AL, roots with a musical style mixing pop, folk, and country with Caribbean elements and a lyrical persona as an easygoing Gulf Coast layabout addicted to sunshine and alcohol (with a few drugs thrown in). Since his breakthrough with "Margaritaville" in 1977, he has enjoyed four consecutive gold or platinum albums. If Coconut Telegraph continues that sequence, it won't be because he has fiddled with the formula. This is another collection of songs mostly written by Buffett and his friends (including Mac McAnally, J.D. Souther, and Dave Loggins) that continue to extol the lazy wonder of living well lubricated in tropical climates. To a certain extent, Buffett seems to acknowledge that he is selling a fantasy, in "Incommunicado" (which he wrote with Deborah McColl and M.L. Benoit) referencing the Travis McGee character in John D. MacDonald's mystery novels and John Wayne's portrayals in the movies. But he also gets across the implied arrogance of his stance in McAnally's "It's My Job," in which the songwriter defends himself as "better than the rest." That aspect is soft-pedaled, however, lest it be off-putting. Most of the time, Buffett is playing things for laughs in songs with titles like "Growing Old But Not Up" and "The Weather Is Here, Wish You Were Beautiful." That's just how his large cult likes things, and Coconut Telegraph was made to service them.
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