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Album Review: “Meet Glen Campbell” by Glen Campbell

August 21, 2008

Meet Glen CampbellFor a modernist country fan like myself it can be hard to make the shift between traditional and modern country music. It took me years to learn the value and majesty behind such artists as Johnny Cash, Hank Williams…and Glen Campbell. Instead of trying to introduce himself to a new crowd of younger country/pop listeners, Glen Campbell makes his triumphant return by providing a mix of his own renditions of popular pop songs and classics that have fascinated both him and today’s new audience.

What is so impressive is that despite his purpose for this project, Glen Campbell is not stained by trying to contain the originality of the song or concerning himself with trying to impress those used to the original versions of these songs. Instead every track provides a reminiscent sound that brings back memories of “Galveston” and “By The Time I Get To Phoenix”. Appropriately enough Glen opens this fabulous album with a cover of Travis, “Sing“, which flows right into duel Tom Petty tunes, “Angel Dreams” and “Walls“, all ringing with sincerity and power while being performed with the rustic vocals and experienced quality of Campbell’s instrumental organization and artistic ability.

This album does not slow down, it only continues to build. “Times Like These“, a Foo Fighters hit from 2003, comes off as a message from an intellectual and experienced man rather than a preachy message from an old man who has nothing left to his name. Similarly “Jesus“, originally by Velvet Underground, is more of a personal lament from a man who has gone through so much in his life that all he has left to do is try to find his proper place in the way of prayer, almost as if it is the last thing he has yet to accomplish and has been able to support himself up until this point. You can sense little shame and more concern in his voice as he tries to overcome his roadblocks.

What highlights this album the most is that Glen has taken the liberty of conquering popular and more modern pop tunes, in addition to some more classic ones, including his much anticipated cover of Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)“. Every inch of this song contains the same sincerity of Billie Joe Armstrong’s original version, but has again a strong sense of experience added to it. This combination of experience and majesty only compliments this already well established song that has already become a classic in its own right.

Sadly this album is not without its flaws, they are few, but still there. Only a few tracks contain major downs, one being “Sadly, Beautiful“. This remake is produced as such. It contains little emotion or personal relevance that would have helped it glow a little brighter. Also falling short is “Grow Old With Me“, the closing track originally by John Lennon. With a Lennon song there isn’t much that Glen needed to do to add much to it, just pull is off well. Sadly the instrumental quality of the track is overproduced as if trying to hard to help this classic tune shine seemingly above the rest of the album.

What Glen has done here is taken today’s and yesterday’s pop classics and turned them into his own brand of country/pop sound that is meant to broaden the horizons for both genres and both groups of fans. While preserving both his own sound and the glorious aspects of every wisely selected piece, Glen brings a new sound to the ears of today’s biggest music fans that is sure to give even the most loyal modernist a tingle for the traditional sounds of both pop and country and traditionalists a whole new respect for the more modern collaboration of the two sounds in today’s world.

 

4 Stars

 

Produced by Julian Raymond and Howard Willing

 

Tracks:

  1. Sing
  2. Walls
  3. Angel Dream
  4. Times Like These
  5. These Days
  6. Sadly, Beautiful
  7. All I Want Is You
  8. Jesus
  9. Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)
  10. Grow Old With Me
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