TAS Super LP List! Special Merit: Informal
2018 Grammy Award Winner – Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals: “Putin”
One of Rolling Stone’s 50 Best Albums of 2017!
Dark Matter, Randy Newman’s first album of new material in nine years, is the follow-up to 2008’s acclaimed Harps and Angels, which the Guardian called “the work of a true master of popular song.” Produced by long-time Newman collaborators Mitchell Froom, Lenny Waronker, and David Boucher, the album includes songs about Vladimir Putin, the Kennedy brothers, Sonny Boy Williamson, science vs. religion, love and loss, and more.
After starting his songwriting career as a teenager, Randy Newman began recording as a singer and pianist in 1968 with his self-titled album. Throughout the 1970s he released several other acclaimed albums. In addition to his solo recordings and regular international touring, Newman began composing and scoring for films in the 1980s. The list of movies he has worked on since then includes The Natural, Awakenings, Ragtime, all three Toy Story pictures, Seabiscuit, James and the Giant Peach, A Bug’s Life, and most recently, Disney/Pixar’s Monsters University, the prequel to Monsters Inc. (which he also scored).
“Such a long wait for nine new songs may be frustrating for some, but Dark Matter arrives at the right time and delivers the commentary and insight we crave from Newman. He makes you forget about the time that has passed and puts the focus on where it belongs: the present. The man is one of the eras great songwriters, composers, and storytellers, and Dark Matter perfectly fits in his legacy.”
-Darren DeVivo, WFUV
“Newman opens his first album of new material in eight years with three songs that play the end of Western civilization for laughs starting with a Marx Brothers version of the Scopes Trial and culminating with a Vladimir Putin variety show and then hits one that plays the end of life for tears: ‘Lost Without You,’ in which a husband listens in the shadows as his dying wife tells her kids to take care of him after she’s gone. It’s a stunning miniature, with swells of American prairie strings and horns giving way to Newman alone at the piano delivering a simple message: The darkness is coming to us all, one way or the other.”
-Rolling Stone, 50 Best Albums of 2017
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