Tuesday, May 17, 2005

I Would Cut Off My Whole Freaking Face Just To Make My Point Clear

Glen Phillips released his second studio solo CD (say that three times fast) earlier this spring: Winter Pays for Summer. I was not a big fan of his first one, Abulum. I found it boring and pretentious, or maybe I was just taking out my frustration of Toad breaking up on him. I wasn't in any hurry to buy the new one, but it's been a pleasant surprise.

I'm not totally sold that this album's successes can be solely attributed to Glen himself. With names like Andy Sturmer, Dan Wilson, Jon Brion, Ben Folds, and John "Strawberry" Fields interspersed throughout the liner notes, you can't be at all surprised that the music sounds so good. Glen has never been one for the finer pop touches, but the influence of the above superstars of pop seems to have improved his overall sound.

Two of the tracks co-written with Dan Wilson are standouts: Cleareyed (the best on the album) and Released. Finally Fading is a great pop tune. Thankful is a solid yet forgettable single. The biggest disappointment is Easier, which was a great tune back when it was demo, but this version has been "freaking" John Mayerized, which isn't the sound Glen should be going after. Gather is another tune that seems to meet a similar, ill-advised fate.

WPfS will be enjoyed by those Toad fans longing for hints of their glory days but who always wished Toad had a little more pop oomph and fewer songs about rape. It's been a nice surprise.

Glen Phillips: Winter Pays for Summer

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