We are all fully aware that Dan Wilson was the mastermind
behind alt. rock darlings Trip Shakespeare and the ultrafine
rock outfit Semisonic. We don't need anyone to remind us of
that. Most of us also know that Dan Wilson has been spending his time
producing some great records for other folks lately, helping out his
friends and more
for a perfect example, check out the last Mike
Doughty record Haughty Melodic. The facts are clear, people
Dan Wilson is a musical force that travels his own path, a path of
beauty and clear songwriting and passion. Take a listen to the lead
track from Free Life, "All Kinds", where Wilson affirms
his own life directly with the sharply melodic refrain "Running
all around, all around/ all kinds of beautiful." Free Life
is filled with songs that mostly contain a clear, powerful melancholy
that has at its center a very delicate hope and beautiful sadness.
"Come Home Angel" is a perfect example of this phenomenon,
with its softly arpeggiated piano and crisply strummed acoustic guitars
providing the perfect canopy for the lyrics of hopelessful longing.
"Baby Doll" is filled with a weird Vaudevillian jazz, trumping
so many of the other newer "jazz" artists with the sheer
force of the song's integrity and honest yearning. "Sugar"
is a quieter acoustic number that very ably shows Wilson's ability
to record instruments perfectly, creating crisp and clear layers of
sound, gently underscoring his amazingly deep, yet simplistic, prose.
"You've got all your glory to find someday/ set down with me
let the time pass away/ when you're gone tomorrow very far/ you can
remember me here where we are." Lead single "Cry" is
the kind of song that made the musical world fall in love with Semisonic.
The lyrics are concise and honest, falling gently over cascading piano
and guitar that nicely pad the trademark Wilson melody line
this song is an instant classic.
Truth be told, if all music could cast this peculiar spell that
makes the heart sing in a euphoria of happysad, then the world would
be a much better and more understanding and loving place.
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