Harps And Angels - Randy Newman
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Universal acclaim - based on 25 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 13 Ratings

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  • Summary: The first studio album for the singer-songwriter since 1999's "Bad Love" was produced by Mitchell Froom and Lenny Waronker.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. It remains extraordinary this ability to jump from Tom Lehrer to early Tom Waits.
  2. This is Newman’s most touching, musically rich and consistent record since "Good Old Boys" way back in 1974; and it’s hilarious to boot.
  3. Yet as welcome as it is to have Newman’s acerbic wit back, it remains a singular pleasure to listen to a simple, devastating ballad like 'Losing You,' which is wrapped up in sympathetic strings and absolutely devoid of irony.
  4. 40 years after his debut, the curly-haired songwriter continues to play to his strength: three-minute social commentaries that might sound bitter if they weren't so funny.
  5. 80
    This is Newman’s most unwound album.
  6. 80
    He's still way too fond of show-tune orchestration, and then there's the tossed-off corny stuff, but the orneriness of Newman's now-64-year-old wit makes George Carlin seem like Dane Cook. [Sep 2008, p.120]
  7. It's hard to slate Harps and Angels too much, because the music is actually quite good in places and it's nowhere near bad enough to be a chore to listen to.

See all 25 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. MichaelE.
    Aug 8, 2008
    More than in his past, the new album reveals autobiographical moments. Not, because Randy Newman has a message to be delivered (apart from his biting comments on current politics), but because of the disturbing moments and the angst that make the "ego" a vulnerable thing when growing older and older. On the other hand, the sound palette he makes use of (from orchestral to intimate chamber atmosphere) is brilliant and always serving the songs! Expand
  2. JoeB.
    Sep 10, 2008
    Randy Newman continues to be one of the most important artists out there, right alongside Tom Waits, Neil Young, Radiohead, Bruce Springsteen etc. His words sear the listener and force them to take inventory of what's going on around them. His sardonic wit is matched equally by his song craft. His arrangements are edited so precisely, his notes and words chosen so meticulously, it is moments like this in music that truly remind me of how small all of us other practitioners really are. Mr. Newman constantly poses challenges for himself and is apparently not afraid to ruffle a few feathers in the process. Kudos! Music should be dangerous, it should provoke thought and controversy, it should force people to take responsibility for their actions. Unfortunately, the reality is that most of these sentiments will be lost as I'm sure, nobody really cares about this kind of stuff anymore except maybe a small few of us. Thanks Randy, you always remind me that I'm not alone. Expand
  3. ChrisC.
    Sep 12, 2008
    Too much whining that some people have more money than others. Newman's old stuff was sardonically opinionated while seeming vaguely informed. This just sounds like a lot of angry whining trying to be funny, but only in the 'Everyone else is stupid' way. Expand