My Better Self

My Better Self

by Dar Williams

CD(Australian Import)

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Overview

Starting from the atypically playful cover photo of Dar Williams sticking out her tongue, stained from the blue jawbreaker in her hand, My Better Self is clearly a big departure for the New England folkie. In contrast to both her sparse early records and her more recent albums that had hesitantly worked a wider range of musicians into her guitar-and-vocal tunes, My Better Self kicks off with the self-confident AAA folk-rock jangle of the sardonic "Teen for God," a rueful but affectionate memory of earnest adolescent moralizing set to a jaunty pop tune. This is in no way a sell-out attempt to appeal to a wider pop audience, but an opening up of Williams' music to incorporate unexpected but entirely appropriate new musical and emotional shadings. Williams steps up to the challenge with some of her finest material, including the instant classic "Beautiful Enemy." Quite possibly the finest song Williams has yet recorded, "Beautiful Enemy" matches a sharp lyric (including possibly the first chorus to turn the word "hegemony" into a vocal hook) to a terrific '60s pop melody that's given a strong pop-rocking arrangement powered by a killer organ part; for the first time, Dar Williams sounds more like Aimee Mann than Shawn Colvin, and it's an exciting transformation. The '70s California rock touches on the illegitimacy ballad "Liar" send what might have been just another acoustic folk tune into a direction closer to a vintage Fleetwood Mac or Carly Simon single, and all the better for it. Even the nervy cover choices, Neil Young's "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere" and Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" (released shortly after the Scissor Sisters' glammy reinterpretation of same), come off well in the context of Williams' introspective originals. Stewart Lerman's production and arrangements bring in guests like Marshall Crenshaw, Ani DiFranco, and the guys from the Hooters (Rob Hyman co-wrote two songs, in fact), but this remains Williams' album throughout, and it's the best of her career. Her better self indeed.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/19/2008
Label: Imports
UPC: 0601143107924
catalogNumber: 946151
Rank: 98940

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Dar Williams   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
Patty Larkin   Vocals
Marshall Crenshaw   Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals,Soloist
Ani DiFranco   Guitar,Vocals
Eric Bazilian   Vocals
Steve Holley   Drums,Glockenspiel
Rob Hyman   Organ,Piano,Wurlitzer,Cordovox
Stewart Lerman   Guitar,Keyboards
Sammy Merendino   Percussion
Steuart Smith   Organ,Acoustic Guitar,Piano,Keyboards
Michael Visceglia   Bass,bass pedals
Julie Wolf   Organ,Piano,Accordion,Glockenspiel,Clavinet,Melodica,Mellotron,fender rhodes,Vox Organ
Neal Evans   Organ,Bass,Piano
Alan Evans   Drums
Eric Krasno   Guitar
Ben Butler   Guitar

Technical Credits

Jules Shear   Composer
Roger Waters   Composer
Neil Young   Composer
Dar Williams   Composer
Dave Darlington   Engineer
Ronald K. Fierstein   Executive Producer,Management
David Gilmour   Composer
Rob Hyman   Composer
Stewart Lerman   Composer,Producer
Ben Wittman   Engineer
Mike Napolitano   Engineer
Jennifer Coia   Management
John O. Senior   Engineer

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My Better Self 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago