Friday, September 07, 2007

"Excitable Boy"

The Rolling Stone review of Excitable Boy was written by the late Paul Nelson, one of the best rock critics of that (or any) era.

Nelson loved Warren, and loved the album. It was the first Zevon album I ever bought, and I also think it's great - but I'm not sure it's quite as great as Nelson wrote at the time: "...the best American rock & roll album since Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run (1975), Neil Young's Zuma (1976) and Jackson Browne's The Pretender (1976)." But there's no doubt that Nelson was a wonderful critic, and this review is filled with terrific nuggets:

"...[after the first album] there was some confusion whether he was just another sensitive (albeit unusually tough) singer songwriter or a Magnum-cum-laude rock & roller who ate gunpowder for breakfast..."

"...An intuitive artist, he's often both smart and crazy enough to shoot first at the most explosive subjects, then figure out the ramifications of whatever the hell he's bloodied later ("Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner," "Excitable Boy," "Werewolves of London," "Lawyers, Guns and Money"). This is a dangerous way to work—it isn't nice, and not everybody gets it—but you can claim some spectacular trophies when you're sufficiently reckless to risk safari on the dark side of the moon, where the gleam of the lion may look like the leer of the lamb..."

"...Almost without exception, Zevon's rock & roll songs command and demand your attention through the sheer strength of their creator's personality; they're not necessarily profound (though they can be), but they hit with such primary impact you don't have to think twice about them..."

Great, great stuff.

1 comment:

Kevin said...

Kudos and thanks for all your recent Zevon postings (I especially enjoyed the live footage of "Mohammed's Radio").

Regarding Excitable Boy, Paul Nelson's fine review of that album -- and everything else he wrote about Zevon, including some previously unpublished material -- will appear in the anthology/biography that I'm writing, Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson.