Sean's big brother pulled the sophomore hara-kiri routine on 1992's Free-for-all, sabotaging the goodwill built up by his debut hit, "No Myth," with an album of impenetrable Einsteinian pop. On Resigned, he's back to wonde... more »rfully melodic Beatles-inspired fare like "Out of My Hands" and "Me Around." "Like Egypt Was" proves he's still a brainiac, but all the melodies and arrangements here are once again ready for primetime. --Jeff Bateman« less
Sean's big brother pulled the sophomore hara-kiri routine on 1992's Free-for-all, sabotaging the goodwill built up by his debut hit, "No Myth," with an album of impenetrable Einsteinian pop. On Resigned, he's back to wonderfully melodic Beatles-inspired fare like "Out of My Hands" and "Me Around." "Like Egypt Was" proves he's still a brainiac, but all the melodies and arrangements here are once again ready for primetime. --Jeff Bateman
"Reflection, bitterness, and highly literate, surprising lyrics abound on this fantastic album. Like most people I was aware of "No Myth" very popular and very catchy, but I did not become an overnight Michael Penn fan. In fact I soon forgot him. He was a nameless guy for me until I saw him play with his wife, Aimee Mann, last year. I echo other reviewers'sentiments. How could I not have been a fan all along? I managed to get my hands on all of Penn's albums, but the superiority of Resigned is clear.From the cleverly written, musically accessible opener "Try" ("You take the fifth, as I give you the third degree. I don't try-- I don't wanna try you anymore.") and its lyrics which could be interpreted in several different ways... to the beautiful closing song "I Can Tell" there is not a single song on this album that is bad. I don't skip any of them. Favourites for me include "Try", "Me Around" (quite infectious, great lyrics), "Selfish", "Small Black Box" and "I Can Tell.""
Simply my favorite CD
forrestframingham | New York, NY | 02/28/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I probably own 300-400 CDs, and another 500 albums. I love so much music, but if I was asked what CD do I find most pleasing from beginning to end in my collection, this would be it. Resigned is really a near-perfect pop CD, a little something for every mood. Favorites include two of the slower tunes, "Out of my hands" and "I can tell", which closes the disk in such dramatic style. Also special is "Selfish", in which Penn comes up with one of my favorite musical lines, the self-depricating: "You might find a prince of men/ but 'til that time my name is Penn/ and I am selfish..." If you are a lover of pop music, especially pop music that is guitar driven with intelligent lyrics, this is a can't miss. Buy it."
C. James Brown | Newtown, NSW Australia | 01/08/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Michael Penn is one of the world's least appreciated artists. I constantly marvel at his lack of success, as does every person I play his CD's to, and it is with "Resigned" that I marvel most.This CD stands out from my collection as one of the most cohesive works of any artist. So often a CD has at least on turkey on it, but with "Resigned" every track is beautiful in its own right. Nor does this album suffer from sameness, blending ballads with rock tracks with ease for a varied mix which suits any listening mood."Try" is easily as catchy as his one hit "No Myth", its opening instrumentations the perfect intro to the album. "Like Egypt Was" is a rock track of startling originality, beginning in muted tones before jetting off in unpredictable directions. The standout for my tastes is "Out Of My Hands", a ballad so touching as to rival anything Sarah McLachlan or Aimee Mann can dish out."Resigned" stands as a favourite in my 100+ CD collection. Never growing old on the ear, never inappropriate for an occasion, it will accomodate all listeners.One of the best least-known jewels in music today.C. James Brown"
You can't buy better
C. James Brown | 12/08/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Even in Europe, the acclaim heaped on this album filtered through. I bought blind from an ad in a catalogue (remember mail-order catalogues?), having only a vague recollection of the man from when 'No Myth' was such a big radio hit. I am now kicking myself for not being a Penn fan for ever. The album is a rollercoaster, going from joyous to saddening whilst always remaining within the boundaries of musical brilliance. Melody appears in spades and if you liked this, I can unhesitatingly recommend Neil Finn 'Try Whistling This' or the Jayhawks 'Sound of Lies' as great companions. You will never buy better."
Fine melodies + sharp lyrics + inventive arrangements = wow!
Jason Kruppa | New Orleans, LA United States | 01/30/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Michael Penn's first two albums (now both unfortunately out of print) both sported a handful of beautifully crafted pop songs that stuck in the brain because of evocative lyrics and Penn's distinctive musical sense, but compared to "Resigned," both "March" and "Free-For-All" sound like mere warm-ups. Producer Brendan O'Brien, who produced "100% Fun," arguably Matthew Sweet's most satisfying long player to date, fleshes out Penn's sound and gives his songs a finished quality; where before Penn's music shone, now it shimmers. Another factor that gives "Resigned" a greater cohesiveness is the consistent use of a four-piece band with Penn on guitar, Patrick Warren on keyboards, O'Brien on bass and Dan McCarroll on drums. The earlier albums had Penn and Warren at the creative center with session musicians filling in the rest of the parts. Here, all four musicians clearly have plenty of ideas, and the interplay is often stunning. Just listen to the intro to "Out of My Hands," with O'Brien's slightly distorted bass and Penn's delicate guitar figure playing off of each other, establishing a mighty sense of longing even before the vocals come in.If "Resigned" has an overall theme, it is one of self-criticism: "Try" is an acidic, uptempo pop song full of bitter self-reflection; ditto "Selfish," which declares "You might find a prince a men/Until that day my name is Penn." Even when not directing his attention so unforgivingly toward himself, Penn keeps the level of craftsmanship high. "Small Black Box," which uses a nicely developed metaphor to essay the tendency to analyze things gone wrong, may seem modest at first, but its melody and lyrics are indelible. It's the kind of song you wish Paul McCartney would start writing. "I Can Tell," the album's majestic closer, is just as carefully constructed and emotionally resonant. As the strings fade at the end of the song, you might very well be compelled to start the CD over and listen to the whole thing again."