YOUR OWN REVIEW
“Nobody really wants to hear a POP SONG/Full of
chainsaws, broken hearts, and misery,” sings Angry Johnny at the
top of his latest compilation of odds and ends, ONE BAD DAY IN ’93,
wryly nailing down why his music seems to be considered so radio-unfriendly
by unfriendly radio.
EVERY MORNING finds him counting down the days, like a prisoner who has
more faith in the death penalty than any hope of the phone call from the
governor that would be her return.
“So my darkest hour found me all alone praying for a light/But the
higher power ain’t got no use for me tonight” is the kind
of foregone conclusion that comes from BANGING MY HEART AGAINST THE WALL.
A melancholy road trip is fueled by the folly that ANOTHER THOUSAND MILES
will make him forget her: “Let the whiskey work its wonders/At the
table I’ll slide under/I’m going down/but I’m going
down in stye.”
“You are the shovel that digs my grave/but I can’t help it,
I’m still your slave/You are the only one who can SAVE ME.”
This weary plea for help has vocals that seemed tinged with the knowledge
that it will go unanswered.
Melodic and mournful, THE ARMS OF A STRANGER would make a great Bee Gees
song, circa 1971. “Nothing makes sense/Since these ties you have
severed/What’s a poor fool to do/Except love you forever?”
No one is given to overstatement like the broken-hearted, and the yearning
here reaches cosmic levels: “When there’s no one in the universe
left alive to tell/My love for you will be the one thing left alive and
well.” EVEN THE DEVIL CANNOT KILL, but Leonard Cohen could, with
Some timely comic relief comes with “I USED TO SEND HER FLOWERS/Special
delivery/Now someone else is bringing her roses/and that bastard gets
them for free.”
We are not laughing with this poor sucker, we are laughing at him, and
especially at the punchline: “Now who the hell is gonna deliver
SAME DEAD END sounds like Chris Isaak taking a very wrong turn: “There
isn’t much left here to recognize/but in the end it’s all
the same/Maybe an exit over the next rise/maybe just another breakdown
lane.” Unlike most rockers, cars are not a form of escape for Angry
Johnny... Wherever he goes, there he is.
YOU’RE GOING AWAY channels The Animals so well that you can almost
hear the Vox Continental organ. It would be great if the one and only
Eric Burdon did this, but the double-tracked Angry Johnnies are a fair
“Most people lost in the wild die of shame,” says Anthony
Hopkins in THE EDGE. Sometimes, so do the broken-hearted: “I’m
COLD/Frozen down to the bone//She’s gone and I’m left here
alone/Write it on my tombstone.”
DEAD AND BURIED is another tuneful lament that would make the early Bee
Gees proud: “Pick some flowers in a field/Take them to my grave/Shed
a tear and say a prayer/for one who was not saved.”
“I placed a call to Doctor Death, but they wouldn’t put me
through/So what the Hell’s a chicken shit like me supposed to do?”
A welcome dose of gallows humor, KERVORKIAN BLUES finds another loser
whistling to the graveyard.
PRODIGAL SON is a bile-soaked tirade, hopeless and bible-black: “I
am a lonely little wretched puppet/that God and Satan like to toss around/Seems
my whole life I’ve been hanging/I think it’s time to cut this
Fittingly, this CD-length trip through the Hell of the human heart ends
with a love song for the damned: “I’d die for you, I’d
kill for you/But only if you asked me to/You’re the only one that
I know who could ever understand/So darlin’, take my hand/LET’S
GO THROUGH HELL AGAIN.
Consistent in tone, with folkish explorations of lost love that are well-suited
for the intimacy of the acoustic, ONE BAD DAY IN ’93 makes for one
fine night of listening fifteen years on.