Review: “Rhett Miller,” Rhett Miller


There was a guy who worked with my wife some years ago, he liked to throw parties at his house but he never could choose the right “party” music (in my opinion).  In the process of helping this hapless host discover his true party animal – Linda Ronstadt was a revelation to him – we both stumbled upon the Old 97s.  Not quite country-rock, not quite power pop, not quite anything, the Dallas band seemed to fulfill a lot of requirements for party background noise.

The frontman of this erstwhile quintet was, and still is, Rhett Miller, a wordplay wizard who also has a marksman’s aim with his musical hooks.   He has produced a fourth solo album, Rhett Miller, with all of his formidable skills intact.   The first single “I Need To Know Where I Stand” sounds like everything’s there, all right, until Rhett says his love “feels like paralysis.”

On this album, Miller’s coming from a real dark place – “Happy Birthday Don’t Die” was apparently inspired by the death of a family member – but he has the knack for wrapping his angst and misery in some of the peppiest tunes this side of Paul McCartney.  “If It’s Not Love” is a highlight with its ringing guitars and rootsy electric solos, “Another Girlfriend” has Miller confessing “the last thing I need is another girlfriend.” 

Rhett Miller is a good soundtrack for a dark night of the soul, an evening on the patio with burgers on the grill or even a party with your co-workers.  He’d fit right in after that old Linda Ronstadt record.

MP3: “I Need To Know Where I Stand”

Rhett Miller official website

One Response to “Review: “Rhett Miller,” Rhett Miller”

  1. You can check out my review of Rhett’s album at Popdose:

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