Tyler Smith | Denver, CO United States | 04/08/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's a mystery as to why an album of this quality is an import, but we'll lay that aside for the purposes of this review. The essential point is that Ms. Shocked produced, with "Short, Sharped Shocked," an album of uncommon lyrical poignancy and hard-edged musicality.The power of this album lies in Shocked's wonderful voice, which serves a broad variety of musical styles. There is the hard-core rock of "When I Grow Up" and "If Love Was a Train," the talking blues of "Graffiti Limbo," the folk strains of "Anchorage" and "Memories of East Texas," and the mountain melancholy of "The L&N Don't Stop Here Anymore."Shocked's voice is wonderfully expressive, and the arrangements allow her to tell her stories in a way that draws us into her many musical worlds. There are so many high points on the album that one hesitates to single out a single cut, but "Anchorage," for me, symbolizes Shocked's musical power.The song is about the writer taking "some time out" to write to her old friend, who has moved to Anchorage and taken up a new life as a "housewife," as she describes herself. It takes great skill for a songwriter to duplicate the rhythms of everyday speech, but Shocked accomplishes it in her song, which captures the pleasure of discovering a friend's new life at the same time that one feels the pain of realizing that friend has moved on. It's a great performance.Why do so many American artists only find recognition of foreign labels? Maybe that's a new song for Michelle Shocked to explore. In the meantime, do her and yourself a favor and buy this CD."
Strangely - on my top 10 all time list !
Jason B Rothschild | St. Louis, MO USA | 01/03/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of my favorite albums since a stellar review by Rolling Stone (or Spin) in 1988. Has the amazingly rare ability to be played over and over - which, to me, proves its greatness. I do not like country music at all. Her music might seem like country with casual listening, but it's more. My other favorite artists (noting that Michelle's other albums are fine,and occasionally excellent but none can really compare) are mostly 'boy bands' such as metallica, sonic youth, the clash, velvet underground/lou reed, neil young, grateful dead, janes addiction, superchunk, archers of loaf, beastie boys to name a few. The only other 'girl music' I really like is Gillian Welch. That's another story. Anyway, if you're even to this page already - just buy it. Don't let it get away. (she should send me a buck for this gaudy endorsement, don't you think?) One more note - about the last song on the album...If you don't like punk, skip it every time you play the record. I think it's fun and an interesting contrast (it is a punked-up cover of a much more sedate original version.)"
Short, sharp, and shocking
billy79 | NY, USA | 06/19/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first came across Michelle Shocked in the soundtrack album to "Dead Man Walking". I was impressed by what I can only describe as her honesty; but never bothered to look for any of her other works. Then I heard a group of friends play "The L&N Don't Stop Here Anymore" at a local coffeehouse... and I just had to know whose arrangement it was. Turns out they had borrowed most of it from this album, and so my search for "Short, Sharp, Shocked" began. It's sad that an album of this calibre can't be found in stores anymore... I'm not a country music fan at all, but then again, I don't think that Michelle Shocked's music can be contained entirely in that category - this is a CD that caters to just about all tastes, ranging from country/folk/bluegrass to blues to punk/rock... and beyond."Short, Sharp, Shocked" has more raw emotion and less pretense than any other album I can think of. Shocked's lyrical and musical simplicity allows her to convey her messages and tell her tales with an open honesty (complete with all the ironies of life) so seldom found in popular music anywhere."
Joe Sherry | Minnesota | 05/03/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had first heard of Michelle Shocked when I read a review of her album "Deep Natural" in the Minneapolis paper. I bought the album and loved it, but I was not able to find any more of her albums in a store (and have not purchased any online). Recently I borrowed two Michelle Shocked albums from the public library. I have since had "Short Sharp Shocked" constantly playing in my cd player. This album has a bluesy, down home folk funk sound to it. It is fairly hard to describe, but I think that is a good thing. Michelle Shocked has a wonderful sound and I appreciate the fact that it can't really be pigeonholed. There is a power in Shocked's voice. "Anchorage" is one of my favorite tracks from the album, but there is no song that I really don't like on this gem. Great album and definitely worth buying."
Still the best Michelle Shocked album
Catherine S. Vodrey | East Liverpool, Ohio United States | 04/03/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Michelle Shocked had done an album before "Short, Sharp, Shocked" called "The Texas Campfire Tapes," but this is the first one by which a greater audience came to know her. It's still her best album.Opening with "When I Grow Up," Shocked sounds as though she transcribed verbatim the childhood marital and family wishes of a four-year old. Talking about her "120 babies," Shocked sings, "We're gonna give 'em that watermelon/When they start yellin'." Hilarious stuff that she sings completely straight, the song moves beyond its potential as a novelty throwaway and becomes a gloriously Henri-Rousseau-like aural painting about adulthood."Hello Hopeville" starts out with rhythmic guitar work that puts the listener in mind of Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash or even Waylon Jennings, but then she comes in with that distinctive, wry, wiry voice of hers and you are completely seduced. A terrific narrative about a young man going in to register for the draft (or just sign up for military service--it's not completely clear), this is a story in and of itself and stands on its own even without the backing music.In "Memories of East Texas" and "(Making the Run to) Gladewater," Shocked pays tribute to her Texas childhood and youth. The former is a subtle, yearning look at the years of growing up and the odd things one remembers--like cutting through someone's pasture when the water ran too deep out on the road after a heavy rain. In the latter, Shocked cuts loose to yowl happily about the high school habit of trying to buy beer before the store closes:"Now, fair is fair but life's a gamble
When it's eleven forty-five
And it's a toss of a coin to see who's got
Fifteen minutes to make a thirty-minute drive . . .
Here's what you do
You hustle all your buddies off
the back of your truck
You grab your girl and say, 'Come on, let's--'
But it's okay, you're on your way
You lost the toss
You're taking the money
You're making the run to Gladewater.""If Love Was a Train" and "V. F. D" (about kids setting fires in dry grass) are both stand-out songs as well. The only song that doesn't seem to fit is the head-banging "Black Widow," but since it's the last song on the album, it's easy to skip. Shocked's voice throughout is by turns saucy, meditative, serene, and all-around gorgeous. Hard to beat an album this good."