Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dog's Eye View: Happy Nowhere (1995)

(As published in the Illinois Entertainer ... )

Dog's Eye View
Happy Nowhere

The real problem here isn't Peter Stuart's material so much as his inability to distance himself from it. In every song he holds a magnifying glass up to his ups, his downs, his pleasures, his pains, writing so particularly that he not only misses the forest for the trees but almost misses the trees for the bark as well. Or, as he sings half-truthfully in "Would You Be Willing," "It's hard for me to say things / without joking around and around and around." The whole truth is that it's hard for him to say things period. For what other reason would he spend fifty-eight minutes and thirteen songs trying and not succeeding? And who but someone apparently unfamiliar with Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan, and Leiber and Stoller would ever think "joking around and around and around" was a no-no?

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