Monday, April 23, 2012

Todd Snider: Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables

"The murder ballad has been around for centuries, but Todd Snider offers an of-the-moment spin on his latest album, 'Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables.' ... 'In Between Jobs,' which is directed at a have from a have-not, ends with a brutal calculation about wealth redistribution. And on 'In the Beginning' a dirty capitalist talks his way out of murder at the hands of the less fortunate. 'God gave me this because I’m humble,' he says — and it works. These aren’t uplifting songs, or even empowering. Mr. Snider sings about the intractable, and his solutions are really just ways of working within the system so that it doesn’t make you crazy. More than any of his previous albums, on which Mr. Snider usually excoriates himself above all others, this one — among his best — is largely a genial catalog of working-class rage and revenge. A vivid, overly detailed songwriter, Mr. Snider is a worthy antagonist. 'New York Banker' displays at least a little fluency with the lingo of CNBC. 'I came to the day I had waited on/ just to find out all the money in our pension was gone/reinvested in something called the Abacus bond,' he drawls. 'Come to find out the bond born to fail’d been built so that banker could bet his bread against it/when the housing market crashed, our retirement did too'" (Jon Caramanica, "New Albums," New York Times, 3/5/12).

View catalog record here!