My Baby Don't Tolerate
First Appeared at The Music Box, November 2003, Volume 10, #11
Written by John Metzger
Thereís little doubt that Lyle Lovett has carved out his own niche within the marketplace. Ever since the release of his self-titled debut, he has been expanding the boundaries of his music by incorporating a wide array of styles ó so much so that heís managed to defy categorization. Heís too rock ínĎ roll for country and too country for rock ínĎ roll, not to mention the fact that he also dabbles in blues, gospel, jazz, folk, and Western swing, fusing all of this together with organic melodies and a wry sense of humor. As a result, heís never seen his audience grow to a size commensurate with those of his mainstream peers, though his fans certainly are far more loyal. Itís safe to say that even as quirky, Texas-born singer-songwriters go, Lyle Lovett is one of a kind.
After a seven-year hiatus, which found him keeping busy scoring movies and covering tunes by some of his favorite songwriters, Lovett has returned with My Baby Donít Tolerate, and not surprisingly, it contains a little something for everyone. Thereís the elegant cocktail jazz of You Were Always There, the feisty barroom blues of the title track, the buoyant country of The Truck Song, and the rousing gospel of Iím Going to the Place. There are playful ditties such as Cute as a Bug, and there are stealthy social commentaries such as Election Day. In other words, itís a fairly typical album for Lovett, which seems like a strange thing to say, given that little he has done in his career has been considered common.
While this sort of eclecticism unquestionably is intriguing, it also happens to be the downfall of My Baby Donít Tolerate. To be fair, itís a difficult thing to achieve, though Lovett has fared better with it on his previous efforts. In essence, My Baby Donít Tolerate simply sounds like a collection of disconnected songs, placed side-by-side to form a full-length album. True, they are all good. Some ó such as the more straight-forward country tunes In My Own Mind and Nothing But a Good Ride as well as the aforementioned gospel tune and its companion Iím Going to Wait ó are downright terrific. In between, however, the tracks just drift along, albeit quite affably, but none of them ever seem to rise up and pull the whole song cycle together into one cohesive package. Ĺ
Of Further Interest...
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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