Marshall Crenshaw
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Marshall Crenshaw (1982), 7/10
Field Day (1983), 5/10
Downtown (1985), 6/10
Mary Jean & 9 Others (1987), 6/10
Good Evening (1989), 4/10
Life's Too Short, 5/10
Miracle Of Science , 5/10
#447 , 6/10
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Marshall Crenshaw, un cantautore cresciuto nei sobborghi di Detroit, si impose rapidamente nel campo del "revival" degli anni '60 con una musica che era ispirata a Buddy Holly e che assomigliava al folk-rock di Tom Petty , ma con un piglio gioviale e ottimista e un talento melodico piu` pronunciato.

Marshall Crenshaw (WB, 1982 - Rhino, 2007) e` esemplare per immacolata purezza: Someday Someway (quintessenza del ritornello cadenzato del merseybeat), Cynical Girl (tipico Spector-sound ritmato da clapping e chitarre), la messicana Brand New Lover (in stile La Bamba) e il boogie She Can't Dance compongono il catalogo piu` fedele di trent'anni di melodia rock, dal rockabilly al surf, dal beat alla psichedelia, dal Tamla-soul al country di Nashville. Erano i dettami enunciati nel primo singolo, Something's Gonna Happen (1981).

Dopo un album, Field Day (WB, 1983) guastato da un arrangiamento inutilmente pomposo (che peraltro contiene Whenever You're On My Mind, Favorite Waste Of Time, e soprattutto Our Town, lievemente lisergica), Crenshaw continuo` in quella vena alla Buddy Holly, ottenendo risultati meno ambiziosi ma piu` orecchiabili: Distance Between, Life A Vague Memory, Yvonne e Little Wild One su Downtown (WB, 1985), Somebody Crying, Calling Out For Love e Mary Jean su Mary Jean & 9 Others (WB, 1987). Grande artigiano del pop nella tradizione del Brill Building, Crenshaw ha la sfortuna di essere nato in un'era in cui deve incidere dischi invece che limitarsi a vendere le sue canzoni. Il suo talento melodico ha infatti pochi rivali, ma l'esecuzione e` quasi sempre affidata all'estro del produttore piu` che al suo.

Le cover d'autore di Good Evening (WB, 1989) testimoniano forse di un momento di crisi.

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It took four years for Marshall Crenshaw to return with an all-original album, and Life's Too Short (WB, 1991) turned out to be a faithful continuation of his modest saga: Somewhere Down The Line is one of his most memorable refrains, while Fantastic Planet Of Love is one of his most sophisticated pop numbers, and Better Back Off and Don't Disappear Now are the old Crenshaw fare.

Unfortunately five more years would have to go by before another studio work appeared. The live My Truck Is My Home (Razor & Tie, 1994) and the single he wrote for the Gin Blossoms, Til' I Hear It From You (1995), were mere appetizers. And unfortunately even Miracle Of Science (Razor & Tie, 1996) was full of covers, not what one expects from the pop songsmith he is.

His jangly guitar pop finds new avenues of discovery on #447 (Razor & Tie, 1999): the highlights are not the usual catchy ditties, but the instrumentals. Crenshaw pens wordless tunes that tell warm, intimate stories (Eydie's Tune, You Said What), as in a less countrified Leo Kottke, and paints atmospheric, jazzy frescoes like a more urban Ry Cooder (West of Bald Knob).

What's in the Bag (Razor & Tie, 2003) is a rather depressed set of songs (possibly inspired by the September 11 terrorist attacks) that starts with Will We Ever and continues downhill (psychologically speaking) with Alone in a Room, Where Home Used to Be, A Few Thousand Days Ago. Even the occasional acceleration (The Spell Is Broken, From Now Until Then) sounds subdued.

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