Sam Hammond | El Cerrito, Ca United States | 12/12/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With _Common Sense_, John Prine threw off the burden of being the 'next Dylan' and strove more toward being the next Picasso. Cubistic is perhaps a way to describe his songs here. Indeed, Prine says here "It don't make no sense/that common sense don't make no sense no more," and proceeds to show you why. In "Saddle in the Rain," his use of the preposition "afterneath" is an attempt to do what Picasso did in his paintings, i.e., portray disparate dimensions at once. To my taste, it was a courageous, but, unfortunately, too precious approach. But it's a signal word in the record.Where his "cubism" does succeed is in "Way Down," where, through an eerie juxtaposition of space and time, he describes narcissistic pain bordering on insanity:"Thought I saw a neon sign/flash my name with the time/Prob'ly didn't see a thing/Crazy Dreams and broken wings"In the very funny and very bawdy "Middle Man," he adds up his possessions to describe the same despair described in Way Down: Got an Aunt in Ohio/A boat that won't row/Some Veteran's insurance/ and nowhere to go/Darlin' can I be your middle man?"This was a difficult work for his fans to understand, with it's horns and back beat, and strange lyrics, but it was a courageous attempt at something. It's enough to make you think that Prine is more than just a clever songwriter; maybe he's an artist."
Prine for stoners
Lakeside Listener | Clear Lake, CA USA | 12/26/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's weird the extent to which Amazon's reviewers don't seem to "get" this album. Full of hifalutin talk of cubism and such, they miss the obvious: This is brilliant nonsense, not some kind of formal stylist art. The full (not to say fulsome) arrangements combine with his rough, unpolished voice to enhance the absurdist effect. As a foray into the absurd, it's brilliantly executed. Pitch perfect? Prine never is. But his best songs all come at the listener kind of sideways, and this album does that raised raised a power or two. The bouncy arrangements make the result fun to listen to while Prine messes with your mind. It's a stoner kinda thing. He only made one like this so far as I know, and that's enough - but the one he made is worth hearing. Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Glenn Frey, Rick Vito, Steve Cropper and Steve Goodman must have thought so too - they're in there tripping with him."
You can't go wrong with this one.
firstname.lastname@example.org | Oneida, KY | 08/02/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You can't go wrong with pretty much any of Prine's work (except maybe a couple of numbers on Lost Dogs), but Common Sense fits in the Prine Canon like Tom Sawyer in the Twain Canon. This album mixes hilarious witticisms (Common Sense, Middleman, Come Back to Us Barbara Lewis...), a make-you-wanna-drive-your-car-off-the-road soul-wrencher (Way Down), scratch-your-head lyrics ("Until he went and lain His saddle in the rain"; "There's a rainbow of babies draped over the graveyard"), and an eclectic mix of well-executed musical styles to arrive at a perfect-pitch masterpiece. I agree with Slinkyman_98 -- "You Never Can Tell" doesn't really fit in. But even Twain has a right to stray every now and then."
Alexander Conway | 03/29/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)
"After discovering the self-titled John Prine album about 12 months ago, I have been purchasing and listening to his Albums in the order that they were released. I have been able to get a whole year of listening out of his first three albums (the self titled, Diamonds in the Rough, and Sweet Revenge). But unlike his first three albums, which rewards you by repeated listening, the so-called "Common Sense" album just seems to repulse me more and more. I love John Prine's music, and will certainly continue to make my way through his canon...but this album is definitely not the caliber of his first three....it's no wonder I found it for $4.95 in a discount CD bin at a record store."
Great and Better With Each Listen
Alexander Conway | 07/29/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Common Sense is one of Prine's best albums. From the blaring horns in "Saddle in the Rain" to the relaxed flow of "He Was in Heaven Before He Died" to the island flavored "Forbidden Jimmy" most all songs are exceptional. The exception is Prine's cover of "You Never Can Tell". Still the rest of the album pulls the slack out. The album also boasts a stellar supporting cast including Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Glenn Frey, Rick Vito, Steve Cropper and Steve Goodman. This is an album where each time it is heard a different favorite song seems to stand out."