Sunday, December 28, 2003

A couple of familiar faces and a few newcomers in the top five...

#5: The Jayhawks - Rainy Day Music

The Jayhawks return to their roots on their latest effort, after two albums that strayed, albeit with positive results, from their trademark roots-rock formula. However, instead of the alt-country twang of their earlier efforts, namely Hollywood Town Hall and Tomorrow the Green Grass, Rainy Day Music features a folk-rock sound, with pop sensibilities, reminiscent of Poco and The Byrds.

As usual, Gary Louris contributes a tremendous blend of softly melodic gems such as "All the Right Reasons" and "Will I See You in Heaven", mid-tempo rockers "Tailspin" and "Angelyne", the pure jangle-pop of "Stumbling Through the Dark", and the gorgeously harmonious "Save it for a Rainy Day". Tim O'Reagan takes the reins quite capably for the Ziggy Stardust-esque "Don't Let the World Get in Your Way" and the quiet ode to life on the road, "Tampa to Tulsa". The only track that is off the mark is "Madman", which recalls a mediocre effort a la Crosby, Stills & Nash.

As for the album's title, I'd say the mood is not as sad as Rainy Day Music would imply. This is definitely music for sitting home and enjoying the laziness of a rainy day, rather than languishing over one's troubles.

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