"Because she writes such entertaining humorous lyrics, it's easy to overlook the more serious and introspective side of singer-songwriter Christine Lavin. This recording is a good balance between her comic and poetic sides. Her loopy sense of humor comes through on cuts like the title track (since I first heard it I've never been able to hear the word "sushi" without thinking of Christine), and on "Mysterious Woman." When she's funny, she's very, very funny.When Lavin's not feeling funny, her songs are so wistful, poignant, or heart-warming that they will sway even the most detached listener. "Eighty-Five Degrees" is such a lovely melody, with elegant orchestration, that it almost doesn't matter what Lavin's singing about. The subtle message--that friendship and genuine concern can come from the most unlikely sources--is a perk. Lavin has assembled a talented cast of backup musicians for this recording, including John Gorka, Bill and Janice Kollar (also responsible for the arrangements), and the members of Uncle Bonsai. They and the many other musicians she's recorded with over the years ( a veritable who's who of contemporary folk music) complement but never overshadow the bright star in center stage. Maybe it's a good thing "he" can't read Christine's mind, but I'm sure glad I got a peek into it. You will be, too."
High-quality performances throughout...
William E. Adams | Lovington, NM United States | 11/25/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Most Lavin collections have two or three songs you just have to hear over and over, and will never forget, and then two or three which just don't quite work, more due to execution than to the idea. This album doesn't have the highest of her highs, or the lowest of her lows. It is very steady, very pleasant, and certainly a "must-have" if you are already a fan, and a great introduction to her work if you are a rookie. Christine mixes humor and seriousness better than almost anyone else out there, and she is one of those rare "women's point of view" performers who attracts and can hold on to male fans. I like all the songs on this one, but her most remarkable pieces are scattered on her other studio discs."
Dead-on mix of funny and tragic songs about love
William E. Adams | 01/30/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The title song is for all of us who have done something we hated because the SO loved it, pretending all the while it was the most fun we'd ever had. "Some say eating sushi/is like chewing on your own cheek/or sucking down a bucketful of tentacled slime/I do not like sushi/but look I'm eating sushi/it's a good thing he can't read my mind."A mere 3 tracks later, "Waltzing With Him" gives a wrenchingly accurate description of a woman using a nice guy as a substitute for the man she loves and cannot have. Track 5, "Mysterious Woman", is at once a dead-on parody of Suzanne Vega and a funny song in its own right.You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll kiss 12 bucks goodbye. And you'll probably want more Lavin. Try "Attainable Love" after you're hooked."
Not much humor on this album
Peter Durward Harris | Leicester England | 05/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I discovered Christine's music after first discovering Cheryl Wheeler, a singer with a similar type of appeal. Both are singer-songwriters who can write about serious topics when they choose to, yet they each have a great sense of humor although this particular album seems mostly serious (sometimes tragic) to me. Christine provides extensive liner notes about the songs as well as lyrics for them.Christine wrote all the songs here except Downtown, which is a cover of the sixties pop classic. While lacking the energy of the original, it is one of the more interesting covers of this song. Christine sings it as a duet with Livingston Taylor. In the liner notes, Christine goes into great detail about her idea for a video version of the song in which she is a poor unfortunate who gets mugged while Livingston is a big-hearted cab driver who comes to her rescue. I do not know if this video ever got made but I enjoy their interpretation of the song.The title track is amusing though I'm surprised at the lyrics. It seems that Christine is doing all the things that her man likes but she hates, yet convincing him that she likes them anyway. In an age when women sing about their independence, this song goes against the grain. Still, I'm not complaining. The other amusing song is Mysterious woman. In the liner notes, Christine explains that she'll never be mysterious because she talks too much. Another cheerful, though not funny, song is Santa Monica pier - a song simply about having a good time.This set includes several sad songs including Realities (about a breaking relationship), 85 (contrasting the pleasures of Miami Beach with the loneliness of one individual who lives there), Never go back (wishing it were possible to go back but knowing it isn't), Somebody's baby (about homeless people) and Ain't love grand (about an old woman who never bothered with love when she was young but wished she had).If you are looking for humor, this is not the album to buy. This shows (mostly) the serious side of Christine's music. If you enjoy singer-songwriters in contemporary folk music, Christine is definitely worth listening to."
My favorite CD of all time...
Peter Durward Harris | 09/15/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"How could you not listen to "Good Thing He Can't Read My Mind" and not fall in love with Christine. Like many other fans, I heard her get some (very rare) airplay on an unknown station and had to track her down. I've not been sorry."