What If The Hokey-Pokey Is All It Really Is About?
Someday I Will
Far Side Of The World
Tonight I Just Need My Guitar
Jimmy Buffett's 33rd record--his first for his own Mailboat Records--finds the world's most famous beach bum in an uncharacteristically reflective mood. While he hasn't completely lost interest in beer, burgers, and string... more » bikinis, Buffett no longer seems intent on transporting fans to some tropical Shangri-la. Buffett does take listeners on a trip to the "Far Side of the World," but insists that you bring your baggage with you--and learn to love it. Buffett skillfully weaves themes of self-acceptance, self-abnegation, and fears for the future into unerringly witty and graphic observations, but his words lack much of their usual frivolity and froth. Buffett seems intent on revisiting the emotional landscape he first explored in Living and Dying in 3/4 Time, which produced the rather mournful song of love and separation "Come Monday." His rendition of Bruce Cockburn's "All the Ways That I Want You" recaptures that sense of love and yearning, but without the stark lack of hope. Hope is one thing Buffett possesses in abundance. In "Last Man Standing" he allows thoughts of retirement, but vows, "I wanna be the last man standing." In the elegant "Someday I Will," he admits: "I don't have a plan / It's not that kind of thing / I'm not Martin Luther King / I don't have a dream / It's just sometimes I know that's the way I'm supposed to go." Buffett is a man at a crossroads, where he's created his most evocative and daring music in years. --Jaan Uhelszki« less
Jimmy Buffett's 33rd record--his first for his own Mailboat Records--finds the world's most famous beach bum in an uncharacteristically reflective mood. While he hasn't completely lost interest in beer, burgers, and string bikinis, Buffett no longer seems intent on transporting fans to some tropical Shangri-la. Buffett does take listeners on a trip to the "Far Side of the World," but insists that you bring your baggage with you--and learn to love it. Buffett skillfully weaves themes of self-acceptance, self-abnegation, and fears for the future into unerringly witty and graphic observations, but his words lack much of their usual frivolity and froth. Buffett seems intent on revisiting the emotional landscape he first explored in Living and Dying in 3/4 Time, which produced the rather mournful song of love and separation "Come Monday." His rendition of Bruce Cockburn's "All the Ways That I Want You" recaptures that sense of love and yearning, but without the stark lack of hope. Hope is one thing Buffett possesses in abundance. In "Last Man Standing" he allows thoughts of retirement, but vows, "I wanna be the last man standing." In the elegant "Someday I Will," he admits: "I don't have a plan / It's not that kind of thing / I'm not Martin Luther King / I don't have a dream / It's just sometimes I know that's the way I'm supposed to go." Buffett is a man at a crossroads, where he's created his most evocative and daring music in years. --Jaan Uhelszki
Lance G. Rigley | Brisbane, Queensland Australia | 01/26/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
""I was in two minds...should I buy this or not??After,at best, the disappointing and un Buffett like performance on *Beachhouse on the Moon*,I was concerned that Jimmy had lost the edge and was settling into middle-aged conformity.I should not have worried..he has returned to a more familiar,if somewhat subdued and reflective form.We are not chugging down rums and floating away on those Carribean breezes,and there is not a cheeseburger in sight!!! Instead this CD owes more to Mark Twain and his epic,*Following the Equator* than to string bikinis and fins to the left fins to the right.I personally like the feel of this one,it is part African Travel-logue,part philosophy,part history..and totally Buffett.From the opening *Blue Guitar* with its African beats.into the moody and reflective *Mademoiselle* and *Autour Du Rocher*,we are treated to JB returning to what he does best,lead the listener on his personal take on his memories and that troupador lifestyle.*Autour Du Rocher*,is one of the stronger tracks on this and shows Jimmy can still sing them,even if they are not written by him everytime.The songs are laden with French phrases and have that personal feel, that was so much lacking in *Beachhouse on the Moon*This is not simply a *Turn up and buy if you are a parrotthead* catalogue of songs.They are to be savoured and enjoyed,owing a lot to the satisfaction of living that was conveyed on *A1A* and *Coconut Telegraph*..that relaxed satisfaction of watching the sun go down over the ocean with a beer or red wine in hand!!.Jimmy uses several styles that transport you to Africa,and the Far Side of the World, but never really takes you too far from keeping that one particular harbour, if not in view,certainly in the back of your mind.Jimmy continues to use the songs of others to convey his own view on things.Of those *All the Ways I Want You* is delightful.This catalogue will grow on you after each listen.Even the initially unremarkable *Last Man Standing* and *What If The Hokey Pokey Is All It Really Is About* convey that Buffett view on the world and put a smile on your face.*Altered Boy* is Jimmy having a dig at those who can never really figure out what he is about,I keep thinking of Mike Nesmith and *Rio*.In fact I also kept thinking *Tin Cup Chalice* and *The Weather Is Here Wish You Were Beautiful*..I was just so happy to have Jimmy back in form.Like *Beachhouse*,*USS ZYdecoldsmobile* gives that down home New Orleans kick,Like *I Play For Gumbo*.The strength of this whole resurgence is encaptulated in the last three songs.*Someday I Will*,JB philosophy,*Far Side Of The World*,JB in travel logue mode and displaying that Buffett trademark story lyric that has done him well for 32 previous albums,and the sensitive and heartfelt closing **Tonight I Just Need My Guitar* as the sun sinks below the Florida coast,the palm trees on Bora Bora, the buildings in Zanzibar...or over your own back fence.As the tones of this CD faded and the lights are put out,the world is a better place knowing that JB is back in something like his best form..and Mark Twain lights another cigar and prepares to write another despatch..and his journey continues.4.5 stars,the best thing from Jimmy for quite a few CDs.Buy it,if you love a story and life!!!..."
Buffett's Found What He's Been Looking For
Steven C. Sowers | 04/22/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's been quite a long time since Buffett has cranked out a CD with as much flavor and consistently enjoyable sound as Far Side of the World, but it was well worth the wait. All too often you see critics pointing to his earliest work (i.e., the stuff he wrote back when Ford was President) and attempting to make a rigid, unworkable comparison between a songwriter barely out of his twenties to a guy with three kids lookin' at sixty. But in this album, Buffett has actually managed to throw in those untamed lyrics that made him a beach bum icon right along with the relaxed anecdotes and introspection that can only come from years of living the life (or something approaching that) which he writes about. Songs like "Last Man Standing" and "Zydecoldsmobile" have something about them that's vaguely reminiscent of his work in the late 70s early 80s, while "Tonight I Just Need my Guitar" and "Altered Boy" seem to achieve that new groove Buffett has been laboriously attempting to create since Barometer Soup.All and all, I think this album is fantastic--arguably his best work since Off to See the Lizard. Far Side of the World should undoubtedly be seen as one of the peaks in Buffett's repertoire, the finished product of many years of attempting to create a "new sound" that, while undeniably different, is no less palatable to long-time Parrotheads and aspiring beach bums than A1A or Coconut Telegraph. Enjoy!"
KeyLimeCafe.com says "One of his better in recent years"
Key Lime Cafe | www.keylimecafe.com | 03/21/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Far Side of the World - Jimmy Buffett
(Mailboat Records, 2002)The debate amongst Parrotheads is nothing new: what exactly represents the best of Jimmy Buffett? To recent converts and weekend fans, it's the classic (admittedly cheesy) singalongs like Margaritaville, Cheeseburger in Paradise, and Fins. Diehard fans will happily join in the choruses of those songs, but insist that the true nature of Jimmy Buffett can be found in the early material when he played the role of an introspective singer/songwriter with a wild side.On "Far Side Of The World," Buffett's first studio release in two years, there's enough of both types of songs to fuel the debate AT LEAST until the next album comes out.For those longing for the more jubilant, satirical and tongue-in-cheek Buffett associated with songs like "Volcano" and "Why Don't We Get Drunk", "Far Side" offers up several songs. Amongst them, the bordering-on-cheesy existential anthem "What If The Hokey Pokey Is What It's All About?" and the defiantly bluesy "Last Man Standing" which both reflects on having survived the heyday of rock and roll while not ready to quit yet. The breezy "Altered Boy" combines classically witty Buffett lyrics with a light, tropical melody and instrumentation, while the "USS Zydecoldsmobile" is a rousing zydeco romp from the first squealing guitar note.Reflective Buffett fans longing for more substantial material will find it in the tasteful cover of Bruce Cockburn's "All The Ways I Want You" and the ode to Savanna, Georgia "Savannah Fare You Well." Standing out amongst the other is the beautifully arranged and poetically stunning "Mademoiselle (Voulez-Vous Danser)." Rhythmic acoustic guitars, light drums and a classical guitar accompany a gently-singing Buffett.Jimmy has always been a good songwriter, and on the three introspective songs that he wrote or co-wrote we find the best of this album. In "Someday I Will" Jimmy reflects on all of his childhood dreams that have come true while providing listeners with the inspiration to dare to dream their own dreams. "Far Side of the World" is lyrically pleasing, and beautifully takes us on an adventure with Jimmy through the lesser-visited regions of the world. Somewhat disappointing is "Blue Guitar", a good song hindered by uneven production that seems uncharacteristic of Russ Titelman. The opening carries a ton of potential, but quickly evaporates into a cookie-cutter idea of what a Buffett arrangement should be. The strength of the melody still carries the tune, but it could have been so much more. Equally disappointing is "Autour Du Rocher" in which Buffett tells the tale of his hotel in the Caribbean that burned down in the late 80s. Guess we just feel that such a wild place should have warranted a wilder song.But any disappointment we might feel is more than made up for in the final track on the album "Tonight I Just Need My Guitar." Co-written with Mac MacAnally, in this song Buffett reminds himself of the very reason he writes music in the first place - simply because he loves it. "Don't need to feel important or famous / No limos or my little Nash car / One lucky man / With my feet in the sand / Tonight I just need my guitar."To us, that represents the best of Jimmy Buffett."
Welcome Back From The Far Side of the World!
C. Vomvolakis | Nor Cal | 03/20/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Wandering through several different musical styles on his 33rd album, Jimmy Buffett has weaved his own special kind of magic into every track on "Far Side of The World." Buffett states that after making music for the past 30 years, "I know what works!" He backs up what he says: Far Side of the World will appeal to both Parrot Heads and the general record buying public alike. On this album Buffett bravely steps out into previously uncharted musical territory with a wonderfully mix of offerings from around the world: African-tribal, European, a hip-hop, R&B groove, new-age/country, Polynesian and Cajun all deftly produced by Russ Titelman.Buffett's vocals are strong, his band is tight and his production team has given this album just the right touch. After years of collecting stories from his travels around the world, Buffett's boat is in and delivers the goods. Here's hoping he keeps it coming!"