Just Us Kids - James McMurtry
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Universal acclaim - based on 11 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 9 Ratings

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  • Summary: The son of novelist Larry continues his critique of the world on his latest album.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. The protest songs on Just Us Kids, particularly 'Cheney's Toy,' will hog all the attention, but they're the least of this roots rocker's treasures here. It's James McMurtry's brilliant character sketches that really shine.
  2. Live, McMurtry can still be way too strophic and trad. But he's never made an album so loud or hard.
  3. In such stories, McMurtry locates again and again an element of humanity that saves his angriest screeds from easy pigeonholing.
  4. McMurtry cuts through all the crap when describing the state of America these days. Call McMurtry’s music what you will, just don’t call it kids’ stuff.
  5. He's getting better with age. [Aug 2008, p.140]
  6. It’s the ache of 'Ruby and Carlos' that reveals McMurtry’s sensitive brilliance as a chronicler of quiet desperation (though even here, he can’t resist a jibe about “the Mason-Dumbass Line”).
  7. 60
    Just Us Kids in part repeats the forumla, targeting SUV drivers, filthy corporations, and Dick Cheney, in an affecting but familiar preach to the converted. [June 2008, p.97]

See all 11 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. LarryW
    May 10, 2008
    Another superb cd by one of the great songwriters of our generation. The music is more diverse and expanded, and the lyrics as biting, poignant and intelligent as ever. It ranks up there with his best. Expand
  2. EricO.
    May 12, 2008
    Let's get this out of the way right now; James McMurtry is a better writer than his dad. Consider as evidence "Song For A Deckhand's Daughter", "Outskirts" (both from "Too Long In The Wasteland") or "Levelland". He's a genius at crafting four-minute narratives that hold more water than most full-length novels, and yet a strange thing happens when he attempts to get political: the humanity and humor of his best work go AWOL. We already have a Steve Earle, and he does this kind of thing far better than James. I love McMurtry's work, I've been with him since "Wasteland", but he should leave the pontificating to others and get back to what he does best, i.e. acute observations without the grandstanding. Expand
  3. PaulC
    May 13, 2008
    The songs themselves are excellent, in particular "Cheney's Toy," but I can't help but wish someone else was performing them.