Life'll Kill Ya

Life'll Kill Ya

3.7 4
by Warren Zevon
     
 

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Wine might mellow with age, but Warren Zevon's twin streaks of perversity and bitter cynicism seem to have deepened with each passing year. This typically acerbic set chronicles the singer-songwriter's trek across the International Middle-Age Line -- namely his passing the big five-oh -- with candor and wit to spare. As befits the tone of

Overview

Wine might mellow with age, but Warren Zevon's twin streaks of perversity and bitter cynicism seem to have deepened with each passing year. This typically acerbic set chronicles the singer-songwriter's trek across the International Middle-Age Line -- namely his passing the big five-oh -- with candor and wit to spare. As befits the tone of the material, it's a sparse, introspective disc that maintains its intensity even in its quietest moments. Zevon's biting wit is amply showcased on tracks like the self-damning "For My Next Trick, I'll Need a Volunteer" and the ominous S & M ode "Hostage-O." But with maturity -- or some facsimile thereof -- he's developed an openness that borders on the vulnerable, a timbre that shines brightly through the wispy melody of "Fistful of Rain." Like most of life's worthwhile elixirs, LIFE'LL KILL YA may make you queasy, but that's a small price to pay for the enlightenment it'll bring.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
Conventional wisdom has it that rock & roll is the aural embodiment of youth culture, but as more artists who've devoted their lives to playing the stuff grow older, they've struggled to reconcile maturity with the recklessness of the music. No surprise, then, that few if any have had the courage to do what Warren Zevon did with his 2000 set Life'll Kill Ya -- create a concept album about aging, disease, decay and ultimately death. "My Shit's Fucked Up" and the title tune are bleakly witty but unblinking glimpses into the abyss of mortality, "Don't Let Us Get Sick" is a sadly hopeful prayer against the inevitable, "Porcelain Monkey" chronicles Elvis Presley's long slide into fatal irrelevance, and the cover of Steve Winwood's "Back in the High Life Again" transforms the song into a picture of a man struggling to convince himself he's going to get out alive. Given its dominant themes, Life'll Kill Ya is surprisingly light hearted; while Zevon seems to regard our long, slow march towards fate as some sort of joke, it's clear that he thinks the joke is pretty funny, and the performances are confident and fully engaged, a pleasant surprise after 1995's lackluster Mutineer. While Zevon handles most of the instrumentation, he had the good sense to bring in a rhythm section rather than letting synthesizers do the work, and Jorge Calderon and Winston Watson bring a human heartbeat to this music that counters the sometimes gloomy outlook. The sad irony is that two years after making Life'll Kill Ya, Warren Zevon would be diagnosed with an inoperable case of mesothelioma that would claim his life in the fall of 2003, but the album's themes ring even truer given the artist's fate -- Zevon was too bright a man to not know that Death was lurking somewhere, and on Life'll Kill Ya, he sure doesn't welcome him but is able to greet him with a smile and a handshake despite it all.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/25/2000
Label:
Artemis Records
UPC:
0699675100322
catalogNumber:
51003

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Warren Zevon   Primary Artist,Percussion,Keyboards,Piccolo,Theremin,Vocals,Penny Whistle,Guitar
Chuck Prophet   Guitar
Jorge Calderon   Bass,Guitar,Percussion,Vocals,Bass Guitar
Dennis Collins   Vocals
Babi Floyd   Vocals
Curtis King   Vocals
Winston Watson   Percussion,Snare Drums
Jim Ryan   Mandolin
Jimmy Ryan   Mandolin

Technical Credits

Paul Q. Kolderie   Producer,Engineer
Sean Slade   Producer,Engineer
Warren Zevon   Art Direction
Bill Harper   Management
Ken Anderson   Representation
Gelfand   Management
Loeb & Loeb   Representation
Britt Pahan   Management
Rennert   Management
Ken Anderson   Representation

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Life'll Kill Ya 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Warren Zevon is a legend---download his new track and you'll see what I mean. He hasn't lost a beat!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great listening for AARP-bound boomers and others trying to cope with the complexities of growing older. Lots of fun and only one or two dips into the somber and pretentious. And one title so nasty that they left if off the jacket! Somehow I think that being over 50 would be a lot easier if I could write like Warren Zevon.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I hate to say it, as a longstanding fan, but Warren hasn't written anything up to his old standards since he finally got off drugs. The cover track is clever and cute but not biting or edgy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Very true to style. Warren and his wornout attitude hasn't changed. That's what we love about him. I say he's still got it! How can downbeat lyrics come off so upbeat? He's a true commiserator.