Review of "Lion - Stephen Lynch"

published 01/07/2013 | Secre
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Apologies, I've been busy as hell... I will now endevour to catch up with all the rates I have missed.
Super
Pro A generally good if 'off the wall' album
Cons Some very weak tracks in the middle
very helpful
Originality
Quality and consistency of tracks
Cover / Inlay Design and Content
Value for Money
Lyrics

"Stephen Lynch is back!"

Stephen Lynch

Stephen Lynch

I ought to start off by stating that if you are easily offended or interested in the whole pile of political correctness crock, don’t bother continuing to read. There is no point. You will merely find that I am offending your sensibilities, get irritated and in all honesty, life is too short for such nonsense. So just wander off and read something that well, isn’t this. If you are still reading then all I can say is you have been warned. I am assuming that if you’re still here then you’re in it for the long run, but please send any complaints to the following address:

Father Christmas,
Santa’s Grotto,
Reindeerland,
SAN TA1

I fell in love with Stephen Lynch after hearing his complete originality and lack of political correctness in his song Ugly Baby – I’m not quoting the lyrics here. There's a difference between warning of potential offense and actively gaining a hit squad on me. He is the singer and songwriter of the most off the wall comedy lyrics I have had the pleasure of listening to and has a stunning voice to boot. He has described himself as a musician stuck in the body of a comedian and his cutting humour has earned him thousands of fiercely loyal fans around the world. He always cuts it close to the bone…occasionally slicing straight through instead, but his refreshing lack of giving a sh*t makes listening to him a laugh out loud and spit tea all over your computer experience.

This album is what I would consider the most musically sophisticated of all his albums, it’s part Americana, part folk, part alt-country and yet manages to keep the keen humour and wit as well as his ability to say exactly what no one else will. It’s less ‘up-beat’ and a softer offering than his previous albums with many of the songs being slow numbers with a stunning female vocalist often singing along with him. The change in pace and style may put some die-hard fans off but I would more than recommend listening to it close listen. It’s a more musically mature album but if you are easily offended then stay well away as Stephen Lynch is not for the faint hearted.

It’s made up of two CD’s – the first is the studio produced ‘perfect’ version of the music and the second is Stephen Lynch’s live performance of the songs with all the nattering and mistakes that go with a live performance. I’ll review in the order of the live version as this is my personal preference because he’s just so witty in person and seems to lose some of his power in the perfection of the recorded versions.

"Lorelei" (live) – 5:03
He starts off with gentle piano and guitar and when he started to sing I actually shot upright; I’m used to him having a very harsh voice and this honestly sounded like it could have come from a gentle folk album. The lyrics for it aren’t particularly striking but it’s an easy song to listen to. It’s basically him listing off a series of lovers and each one’s faults that caused him to dump them. An odd smell, a snaggle tooth or a lazy eye. There’s not anything wrong with the song, but it’s not the best he can offer.

"Tattoo" (live) – 5:51
any lower back tattoo is queer, it might as well say insert cock here; whore tattoo
When I started to listen to this one I wasn’t all that impressed either; he just appears to be going through a list of different tattoos and calling them queer…with the exception of the teardrop under the eye because of course sir, that’s a cool tattoo. He introduces a female voice to this song and I really enjoyed the voice medley, even if I was less than impressed by the lyrics but I will admit he pulled it off at the end with a punch line I won’t repeat here as it turned what was a mediocre song lyrically into a freaking genius song that I’ve enjoyed listening to since.

"Let Me Inside" (live) – 6:16
There’s naught to infer and nothing implied. I literally mean will you let me inside.
Just the title of this made me expect a return to the Stephen Lynch we know and love, but once again I was surprised; luckily pleasantly. It’s a slow number and where I’d expected a huge amount of vagina jokes he went down the completely opposite route. What you essentially have is a begging song from a bloke whose toesies are freezing because you need to f*cking let him inside.

"The Night I Laid You Down" (live) – 6:33
There was fire in our kisses but it was not a Phil Collins song
The gentle humour continues as we move from the begging song to what is essentially a domestic spat between Lynch and Courtney as they sing through the night they first made love. He’s managed the mix of very sweet ‘memories’ and the exasperation between any long time couple perfectly. Particularly at the beginning you’re thinking ‘this isn’t Lynch surely!?’ until you hit the huge spat, still perfectly sung; there was no f*cking Phil Collins song.

"Too Jesusy" (live) - 6:42
cause you and me plus Jesus makes three, that’s too Jesusy for me
One of the weaker tracks on the album that seems to have little point other than to randomly mock religion in a non too witty fashion. One too be skipped.

"No Meat" (live) – 5:49
I respect every creature from horsefly to cow, but I’d blow a goat for some bacon right now
If I didn’t know Lynch better I’d say this was completely unstaged; he starts by having a go at a fellow musician for eating turkey in front of him and then proceeds into a highly amusing rant at his newfound vegan lifestyle.

"So This Is Outer Space?" (live) – 4:03
LCD will keep me sane, help me reach a higher plane according to the spiders in my brain
Supposedly a true retelling of Lynch’s friends getting him high on acid and then taking him to the brightest, most loud area that they can find; ie the arcade. It’s quite an entertaining, albeit a complete journey to outer space courtesy of the alien giving him directions to the moon. Go figure. But clearly, the most sensible thing to do when you have someone on acid is to take them somewhere with lots of people and shiny things…

"Hey Love" (live) - 3:57
I hate loving hating love
Still haven’t quite got the point of this song… It’s quite pretty but doesn’t seem to have much in the way of humour to it.

"Whiskey Disk" (live) - 5:32
This is most definitely the weakest track on the album and one I skip over on a regular basis. It’s probably purely because it’s too crude and not actually very funny. He’s moved straight into ‘shock factor’ but usually he does this in a witty and entertaining way…here it’s just not funny. But you can get what it’s about from the title.

"The Gathering" (live) - 4:28
Haven’t quite got the point of this one either…yeah, the CD has a weak middle section!

"You'll Do" (live) - 4:54
Well, you’re a drunk and I have low esteem. We make a perfect pair.
He’s back to crudity, but at least I understood this one! Closing time at the bar and the overweight lass and drunken bloke hitching up at the end of the song. ‘Nough said.

"Tennessee" (live) – 6:44
Oh it's a place where dueling banjos play and the mountain folk run free
Where all the children can spell KKK but cannot spell Tennessee
And finally, we’re back to Lynch classic epicness; only took four songs of mediocrity to get there. It turns out there was a publicity stunt by Tennessee tourist board to write a song about Tennessee; of course Lynch had to have a go. And from the mediocrity of the preceding songs this is absolute genius and literally had me wetting myself at my desk. It has drugs, sex and rock and roll…how could it not have been picked as the winner of the competition!?

"Lion" (live) – 5:00
I would comfort you when you're sad; Well, I would just leave you crying
I would protect you if a lion attacked you; Not trying to f*ck with no lion
And he finishes on a stunner; him and one of his band mates have a play off as to who is the better catch. And let’s just say there’s no contest. But it’s made even more amusing by Lynch actively laughing at himself half way through the song…

We would stay up all night just talking; I'd fall asleep when I came
I'd spell your name out with a thousand rose petals; I don't remember your name!

Conclusion

There are some weak tracks on this album (the four in the middle bear immediate skipping) but that doesn’t mar what is overall an exceptional effort. He’s lost a lot of the silliness from his previous albums and it’s softer and more melodic. There’s none of the harshness that comes out in previous albums and it shows the true range of the man’s voice. On occasions he does seem to misjudge what’s funny but I guess this is natural. This is a CD that will proudly sit with the rest of my Stephen Lynch albums and I’d more than recommend it, but it probably isn’t one I’d start with if you’ve never heard him before; I’d wander over to Youtube and listen to Grandfather and Lullaby (The Divorce Song) first and possibly looking at his repertoire first.


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Comments on this review

  • jb0077 published 25/03/2015
    VH review, thank you.
  • torr published 11/07/2013
    From idle curiosity, I just checked out the lyrics to Ugly Baby and must confess to a guilty giggle at "the placenta is cuter than she".
  • Nar2 published 02/07/2013
    Impressively reviewed!
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Product Information : Lion - Stephen Lynch

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

Sub Genre: Music Comedy

Original Release Year: 2012

Performer (Last name, First name): Lynch

Studio / Live: Mixed

EAN: 0744626101221

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Listed on Ciao since: 24/05/2013