Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
2009 album from the veteran singer, songwriter, author and American icon. Produced by long-time Coral Reefers, Mike Utley and Mac McAnally, the record contains 12 great new songs that are excellent additions to his alread... more »
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2009 album from the veteran singer, songwriter, author and American icon. Produced by long-time Coral Reefers, Mike Utley and Mac McAnally, the record contains 12 great new songs that are excellent additions to his already respected catalog. Guest artists checking into Buffet Hotel include Sonny Landreth, Jake Shimabukuro, Cedric Burnside, Steve Lightnin' Malcolm and Toumani Diabate. The package also includes a 24-page booklet printed on recycled paper. Mailboat
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Typical Buffett Fare
Nicholas P. Hunter | Newport News, VA | 12/08/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"1. Nobody from Nowhere- Will Kimbrough is one of my favorite singer/songwriters, and Buffett wasted no time in including one of his songs on the album. The chorus is especially catchy, and Kimbrough's lead guitar work is stellar. It is a bit over-produced, and the background vocals verge on the precipice of cheesy, but this is a great song, and Buffett sounds like her's having a good time singing it. I'm impressed with Buffett's lower voice- he really hasn't showcased the bottom of his range before, but it sounds great. Full and resonant. The fade-out goes on a bit too long, but that's what the skip button is for.
My Score- 9/10
2. Wings- Kimbrough lends his writing talents to the second cut on the album, as well. The melody is catchy, light, and bouncy, and the chord progressions are simple. Will Kimbrough's banjo and harmonica lend just the right character to the song, and Buffett's vocals are accurate and well-articulated. It sounds like a country song, but not. In a good way.
My Score- 8/10
3. Big Top- Buffett continues the upbeat mood in the third track. The backing vocals enhance Buffett's lead vocals, with no hint of cheese. Once again, the chorus is very catchy- definitely something that 20,000 drunken Parrotheads could sing along to at one of his summer concert dates.
My Score- 8/10
4. Beautiful Swimmers- The pace slows down here with a ballad. Jimmy Buffett is vastly underrated as a ballad singer. He has a bit of that old-time crooner in him, and, once again, his lower range is strong, clear, and resonant. The lyrics are a bit oversentimental, but the melody line flows so well that you hardly notice.
My Score- 7/10.
5. Turn Up the Heat and Chill the Rose- Buffett tries to do some sort of minor-keyed reggae in a half sung, half white old man rap kind of way. Complete with sound effects. The bridge is okay and the lyrics are clever, but this is one of those contrived, self-indulgent Buffett songs that I just do not care for. I think he does this just because he has more money than God, and he can.
My Score- 4/10
6. Summerzcool- A nice country/rock ditty that I am sure sounds great live. The lyrics are topical, if not corny and silly. There's even a poorly contrived shouted-bridge interlude... It's just the kind of thing that Buffett is famous for. That said, it's a catchy drunken singalong song. Typical Buffett.
My Score- 7/10
7. Rhumba Man- If you can get past the fact that a sixty-two year old singing a song about screwing... then this is a brassy, jazzy, well-syncopated tune that is actually pretty listenable. Except for the spoken-word part where Buffett tries to channel the spirit of Barry White. Not cool.
My Score- 7/10
8. We Learned to be Cool from You- Another ballad. Very introspective lyrics, but musically, it's fairly dull. The reason I was able to pay so much attention to the lyrics was because the music was so boring. Perhaps a smattering of self-indulgence mixed in, as well.
My Score- 5/10
9. Surfing in a Hurricane- Buffett tries to channel some 60's era surf music in this song. It's mildly interesting, but there really is nothing memorable about this song- except the ill-advised spoken word interlude with sound effects. And the equally ill-advised spoken word fade-out. Didn't really do anything for me.
My Score- 6/10
10. Life Short Call Now- Buffett slows it down again with a ballad. Very gentle, flowing melody, with a very tasteful muted trumpet. Otherwise, nothing special about it, except for Buffett's very well done baritone vocals.
My Score- 6.5/10
11. Buffet Hotel- Good backgound track and vocals, but another self-indulgent Buffett song. The instrumentals are nice, and the lyrics are nice, but it just doesn't work as a song. It's looooooooong, and the spoken parts and French are a bit distracting.
My Score- 6.5/10
12. A Lot to Drink About- Clever, catchy, political, and topical- more so than anything since "The Missionary" on his debut album. The guitar playing by Buffett and longtime sideman, Mac McAnally is spot-on, and Will Kimbrough's mandolin is perfect. This is Buffett at his purest and best... and this is one of my favorite Buffett songs- ever. God bless America, indeed!
My Score- 10/10
Total Average Score: 7/10
There are some really great songs on Buffet Hotel, but there are also some really bad ones. This album is very comparable to Buffett's 2006 offering, Take the Weather With You, but I find Buffet Hotel to be slightly superior. I strongly recommend this album for true Parrotheads and even casual Buffett fans, though you will be grateful for the "skip" button on your CD player.
Just what the Dr. ordered - a yummy Buffet of Buffett!
Eric Ilasenko | Daytona Beach, FL USA | 12/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The best piece of advice I can give is to put this album on and listen to it with you headphones on - forget the phone, emails, and real life for an hour or so and just let inner child parrothead come out and play on the musical trip Jimmy Buffett is serving. It's a good trip and the weather, water, and music is mighty fine here, so jump on in and enjoy the escape!!!
With all the trouble in the world nowadays, it's nice to have the comfort of something uplifting and entertaining to help take your over-stressed mind on a much needed escape for a little while and Jimmy Buffett delivers with his newest album.
Buffett Hotel (named after a real place Jimmy discovered while on an African trip) is really a true musical Buffet for fans of the singer who presents here a studio album full of the kind of smart, sassy, well-written and performed tunes about life, escapism, and coping that make him a such a beloved performer to a legion of parrotheads everywhere!
Some hardcore JB Phans may comment on some little things like lightweight subjects, political commentary, or even Jimmy trying to rap, but the lyrics are always well crafted as Buffett is such a talented craftsman with words and this album does not disappoint when it comes to sharp, witty writing.
Jimmy wrote most all the songs, with help on some from the talented Will Kimbrough and recent CMA Musician of the Year award winner, Mac Macanally, a Coral Reefer band-mate. The couple of tunes from others include fit well into the feel of the album and have the spirit of tunes one expects from Buffett.
The album is a nice mix of moody, mellow tunes and funky, toe-tapping tunes with moving rythms that will have you tapping your toes and wiggling your body to the beats.
The musical production is really good and the album is a joy to listen to with headphones as they really had a lot of fun creating treats for the ears with the mixing of the album. There are synth sounds straight out of 60's surf tunes, bass beats that felt like a Huey chopper blades were beating in your head, and the stereo mix was a treat for the ears that brought back a simpler time long ago when people who created albums loved to play with listeners sensation of hearing with audio tricks and treats.
His band proves itself capable of just about any type of music while on tour every year, and they do it all well. But throw them in the studio and get ready for them to blow you away as they crank out simply great performances of so many different styles and types of music that you understand exactly why Jimmy has kept so many of them with him for so many years. You'd expect the island music and it's there and good, but this album gives the band and Jimmy a further chance to showcase impressive skills playing rowdy ripping rock, blues, jazz, country, psychedelic surf and more!
I had already heard a few of the tunes live from radio broadcasts of concerts this summer but really enjoyed them a LOT more in this studio album format where the audio production could really shine. I'm a 30 year veteran old-school parrothead from the old days long before Jimmy became a brand, and I truly enjoyed this new album a lot.
A Buffet of Only Four Tasty Tracks
Scott Allen | New York | 12/21/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"First, let me apologize to die-hard Parrotheads like myself for not giving the deity that is Jimmy Buffett a 5-star rating. If any other pop star had issued this CD, it would have gotten a higher rating, but from the great Jimmy Buffett I expect better.
If this is a buffet, by the mighty Jimmy Buffett, it's a Vegas special with only four reasonably tasty songs and a bunch of cold bland dishes. I'm a long-time Buffett fan whose first purchase of music was a "Margaritaville" 45 with "Miss You So Badly" as the B-side. However, I'm no cranky purist; I love new hits like "Five O'Clock Somewhere." This new outing by Buffett is, to be charitable, 3 or 4 good songs and a bunch of throw-away demos.
The first song had me very optimistic. "Nobody From Nowhere" is highly produced, with great electric guitars, a catchy hook and strong vocal backups by his full band. If any of these songs from this album make it into his tour set-list, this is the one. I doubt it lasts for more than a year, but who knows?
"A Lot to Drink About" is one of those "timely" Buffett songs that sounds dated the second you hear it. Imagine how it will feel in a year. The third song "Big Top" tries to recapture some of his old glory, but falls short. "We learned to be cool from you" is slower, and sounds like he actually spent more than a day in the studio on it, but it is ultimately forgettable. "Life Short Call Now," another slow ballad, is the second song on the album that is worth listening to more than once. I really liked this song; he paints a picture as he does in his best songs, of real characters and settings. This is one of the few songs that sounds like he's spent some time out of the multi-millionaire life he now leads. Well done.
"Wings" is another good song, in his upbeat happy-go-lucky mode. "Beautiful Swimmers" is a slow, lovely ode to Marilyn Monroe. Yes, Marilyn Monroe- I guess Jimmy's out of real hard-luck drinking stories. "Surfing in a Hurricane" has cool "surf guitar" sounds, but the chorus is repetitive and grating. "Rhumba Man" also fails to deliver.
"Summerzcool" is the "lead" single from the album that was issued before the rest of the album. The only way this song is enjoyable is if you are as drunk as we all get at the Jimmy Buffett concerts. It just does not hold up in a sober listening. "Buffet Hotel," the title track, is his "foreign mystique" track that occurs on every Buffett album. This is no "Desperation Samba," that is for sure. Forgettable pop.
Finally, "Turn Up the Heat" has Jimmy Buffett rapping. Yes, you read that correctly, he raps. Cringeworthy. I love that Jimmy takes risks occasionally with a gimmicky song technique, but I suspect he won't try this again.
Overall, this album will still be a necessary purchase for die-hard Parrotheads, but don't expect anything up to the level of his early albums. This is not even as good as one of his better new albums like "Take the Weather With You." It's pretty similar in quality to "Far Side of the World." I could find no song on this album that merits a space in the top 50 Buffett songs.
Update after about 10 listenings: This album is starting to grow on me (thanks to iTunes and its ability to delete tracks such as the rap song) and I have raised my rating to 4 stars."