Freedy Johnston's major-label debut is less consistently stunning than its predecessor, 1992's Can You Fly but, taken on its own terms, it affirms his position as one of the best songwriters of his generation. Certainly no one paints more evocative portraits of lonely, disappointed people. The majority of these 12 tracks are about men who either know or strongly suspect that they've done something unforgivable, and such is Johnston's mastery as a lyricist that it's even subtly apparent when his narrators are lying to themselves. Johnston frames his bleak narratives with melodic, chiming folk-rock; if anything, the predominantly mid-tempo songs and radio-ready Butch Vig production are a little too smooth, robbing This Perfect World of the edge that made Can You Fly so piercing. The most memorable tracks are the sparsest ones, where Johnston's words and appealingly plain voice take center stage. In addition to the melancholy opener, "Bad Reputation," other highlights include "Can't Shake This Town" and the witty "Dolores" -- few songwriters could pack so many Lolita allusions into three minutes of guitar pop without sounding too clever by half. Best of all is the mournful, eerie title track, which describes the possibly mortal sins of one man's past and the hopelessness of his future with the economy and punch of a good short story.
|Label:||Elektra / Wea|
Performance CreditsFreedy Johnston Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals
Marshall Crenshaw 12-string Guitar
Marc Ribot Guitar
Kevin Salem Guitar,Rhythm Guitar
Doug Erikson Piano
Mary Gaines Background Vocals
Graham Maby Bass
Dave Schramm Bass,Guitar,Steel Guitar,Lap Steel Guitar,String Bass
Butch Vig Percussion,Drums
Frank Vilardi Drums
Jane Scarpantoni Cello
Mark Spencer Guitar
John Yates Bass
Technical CreditsFreedy Johnston Composer
John Siket Engineer
Butch Vig Producer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This Perfect World based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
This cd comes about as close to perfection as any album I own. This is one of those recordings that doesn't hit you over the head right out of the jewel box. It sneeks up on you. After repeat listenings the songs really take hold of you. I have two other Freedy CD's and this one so far is my favorite. There are some uptempo rockers and some beautiful acoustic ballads especially Evie's Tears and the title track. His voice might take a bit of time to appreciate, but Freedy's plaintive vocal style seems a perfect compliment to the songs. The complexity of the melodies is very engaging and you will find new things to interest you with repeat playing. If you have been collecting cd's for sometime, this is one of those rare discs that you find every so often that propels you to continue the search for another.