First Appeared at The Music Box, June 2003, Volume 10, #6
Written by John Metzger
After his debut in 1993, Dan Bern was dubbed "the new Bob Dylan." Though that wasnít entirely off the mark, Bernís songwriting more likely was apt to take an appropriation of Dylan and filter it though Elvis Costelloís punked-up roots-rock. Since then, however, Bern seemingly has taken the comparisons with Dylan to heart and gradually, heís tempered his albums, culminating with the surreally socio-political musings that wandered throughout New American Language. Some dug it. But for those who didnít, Fleeting Days, his latest release, finds Bern shifting firmly back to Costelloís realm, albeit with more maturity than he brought to bear on his early efforts.
Once again backed by the International Jewish Banking Conspiracy, his sarcastically named touring band, Bern rips into Fleeting Daysí thirteen songs, serving up a steady stream of gems for the pop-conscious masses. His melodies are bouncy and buoyant, and their sprightly nature is designed to rattle around in oneís brain, bringing out the sense of hope that flutters about in his disillusioned world. Though New American Language was released post-9/11, it was undoubtedly recorded ó and its songs written ó before that fateful event. So, that makes Fleeting Days Bernís first full-length commentary on the new world order. His biting sense of humor is downplayed, and rather than turn political, he crafts the album into a personal, though universal, statement about what is truly important. He grapples with both religion and consumerism, but itís tales of the heart that clearly have Bernís attention. In a world gone mad with war, Superman asks Lois Lane to run away with him, and Bern pines for both Eva and Jane, while apologizing for his past transgressions. It was John Lennon who once sang, "Love is the answer," and throughout Fleeting Days, Bern searches everywhere for it.
Fleeting Days is available from
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2003 The Music Box