Nonesuch; August 2008
If you’ve ever had one of those days when you wake up and feel like you’re stuck in some bizarrely tragic comedy flick, then Randy Newman’s Harps and Angels may just be the soundtrack to your despair. A career writing movie soundtracks seems to have had an effect on Newman’s first solo effort since 1999’s Bad Love. The album ebbs and flows with stories about love, women, the afterlife, the war on terror, and the advantages of having Korean parents. Standout moments occur when Newman steps out from behind his Wizard of Oz curtain to deliver the touching “Losing You” and “Feels Like Home.” True Newman fans will be delighted with his undiminished wit and incisive political and social commentary, all wrapped up in playful and complex arrangements. After all, who else can reference Julius Caesar, the Spanish Inquisition, and malaria in the same song?