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Set
     

Set

by Alex Chilton
 
For much of his long and winding career, Alex Chilton has borne out that Forrest Gump-ian notion about life -- or music, at least -- being like a box of chocolates: You never know what you're going to get. This time out, ol' Alex has chosen fillings that are tried-and-true -- a dozen covers that span much of the century -- but that doesn't make the concoction any more

Overview

For much of his long and winding career, Alex Chilton has borne out that Forrest Gump-ian notion about life -- or music, at least -- being like a box of chocolates: You never know what you're going to get. This time out, ol' Alex has chosen fillings that are tried-and-true -- a dozen covers that span much of the century -- but that doesn't make the concoction any more predictable. Yes, Chilton and his rhythm section romp through a swath of raunchy rhythm-and-blues (including versions of "Oogum Boogum" and the obscure Johnny "Guitar" Watson chestnut, "Hook Me Up"), but the vibe is hardly one-dimensional. Casting himself as Victrola-era crooner (for "I Remember Mama") and a martini-swirling smoothie (for a surprising rendition of "April in Paris"), Chilton shows both the willingness to take risks and the flexibility to make them pay off.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Any Alex Chilton fan who's disappointed in a set of R&B and pop covers just hasn't been paying attention to his career. Ever since his comeback in the mid-'80s, Chilton has relied on covers -- from 1985's Feudalist Tarts EP on, new songs have been at a premium, and often felt like covers anyway. Maybe that's why he decided to ditch the originals for his 2000 album Set (charmingly titled Loose Shoes and Tight Pussy in every country outside of America). Set is pitched somewhere between the pop-standards album Clichés and A Man Called Destruction, boasting the feel of Destruction and its penchant for R&B, yet with a handful of traditional pop tunes. With the exception of "There Will Never Be Another You," these are read as instrumentals, but the end result is the same: It's a little ragged, it meanders, and it's listenable only to those already firmly within the cult. Set really isn't that bad, especially when its judged by Chilton's solo standards, but it isn't that good, either. In his favor, Chilton's song selections are pretty interesting: There are a handful of well-known songs ("Lipstick Traces," "Oogum Boogum," plus the standards), but he's also found some good lesser-known songs, like "Hook Me Up," "Never Found a Girl," and "You's a Viper." The problem is, he sounds like he just can't be bothered. It's not that these recordings are raw -- the production is unvarnished, but the performance is professional as can be -- it's that they're lazy. Some members of his cult find that endearing, while other listeners (and not just Big Star diehards) will tire of it after a couple of songs. It's no better or no worse than its predecessors; it simply offers more of the same.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/22/2000
Label:
Bar/None Records
UPC:
0032862011023
catalogNumber:
110

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