Wednesday, July 3, 2013

John Prine - Aimless Love

John Prine – Aimless LoveOh Boy, 1984
Acquired: Half Price Books, Used, 2013
Price: $1.50

Not even the 80s could kill John Prine. Well, his music at least. The production on Aimless Love is slicker than ever, with that distinct 80s gloss that shows up and makes the drums sound like drum machines and the pianos sound like synthesizers. The album isn’t great by any means (nor are any of his albums from the early 80s) but its good and I think you could argue that it’s better to make a few great albums and a million good ones than to make one masterpiece and a million shitters. Or I suppose they would even out, but considering that I champion consistency and see it as a highly valuable trait in all aspects of life (and Fantasy Baseball, of course). John Prine is nothing if not consistent. You know what you’re getting every single time and there are always a couple tracks on each record that are bound for some career retrospective years down the line (or the spectacular Great Days anthology, which I try to push onto co-workers whenever it shows up at the store). “Aimless Love” and “Unwed Fathers” are basically the same song. I don’t know how I didn’t notice this, considering that they’re within a track of each other on Great Days. “Unwed Fathers” is Aimless Love’s little masterpiece. There’s a syrupy quality to the title track and other tracks that made Great Days (“The Oldest Baby in the World” and “People Puttin’ People Down”) that “Unwed Fathers” subverts with its skewering of the male species. Lines like “But unwed fathers/ They can’t be bothered/ They run like water through a mountain stream” and “Your ddady never meant to hurt you ever/ He just don’t live here but you got his eyes” provide a nice counterpoint to the general sappiness of the rest of the album (but hey, at least the sappiness is enjoyable enough).

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