Album Reviews


Joe Jackson

Volume 4  Hear it Now

RS: 3of 5 Stars


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Twenty-five years after his pissed-off debut, Look Sharp!, Joe Jackson has reassembled his original band and put aside his jazz-composer aspirations, for the moment. Emotionally, not much has changed for Jackson: He is still disgusted by the world and still standing around watching the pretty women pass by him with the gorillas, as in "Awkward Age," when he complains that now "I get into the parties/But I hate them 'cause I'm shy." Volume 4 is certainly more crafty and less visceral than Jackson's early-Eighties music, but that doesn't mean it is less rewarding. On songs such as "Bright Grey" and the poignant "Chrome," Jackson's added sophistication pays off by replacing adolescent self-pity with nuance. Only on the petty "Thugs 'r' Us" -- a too obvious dig at suburban wanna-be's who irritate old Joe with their dang "Snoop and Dre" -- does Jackson misfire completely and come off as merely cranky. Jackson may have gone from angry young man to bitter old man, but when it comes to edgy, sensitive-guy rock, he proves on Volume 4 that he still is the man.

(From RS 920, April 17, 2003)

(Posted: Mar 25, 2003)


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