Review: Todd Snider – Crank It, We’re Doomed


Todd Snider - Crank It, We're Doomed

Todd Snider – Crank It, We’re Doomed
Format: CD – Vinyl LP – Digital / Label: Aimless Records – Thirty Tigers Records
Release: 2023

Tekst: Bert van Kessel

Todd Snider, a 57-year-old resident from Nashville, has carved himself a prominent position among the best singer/songwriters of his era. This is album number twelve in an impressive body of work in which he displays his immediately recognizable sharp and immersive voice, intelligent and witty lyrics and a knack for hooks and melodies that stick. This fascinating new album was originally meant for release in 2007.

You will surely recognize the tracks that  ended up on later albums; eleven of them appeared on ‘Peace Queen’, ‘Agnostic Hymns &  Stoner Fables’ and ‘The Excitement Plan’ (often in new arrangements and three of them with different titles).

Among the fifteen tracks there are four tracks no one has ever heard before, including one contribution from mentor Jimmy Buffett. As such it may well be considered a ‘Best of Todd’- Album. It was recorded  at Eric McConnell’s East Nashville studio where he also recorded ‘East Nashville Skyline’ and ‘The Devil You Know’. He  was backed by  a close circle of musicians he also worked with on those albums: guitarist Will Kimbrough, drummer Paul Griffith, violinist Molly Thomas, with Eric McConnell and Peter Cooper alternating on bass. Keyboardist Jimmy Wallace shines throughout the album.

The album was originally rejected by Todd back then  because it lacked coherence; musically that may be  true because it is a hotchpotch of styles, bound together by Todd’s unique vocals and sense of humor. The  songs range from electric singer/songwriter,folk and country to funk and garage rock.

The catchy sing-along opener From A Dying Rose features a lovely organ. It is followed by the previously unknown Juice, a garage-rocker with a lot of fuzz guitar, reminiscent of his side-project Elmo Buzz and the Eastside Bulldogs. But Seriously Folks is a country heartbreaker. What Made You Do It places Todd in a nightclubbish arrangement.

Mercer’s Folly was the basis for two different songs on 2012’s ‘Agnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables’. Jimmy Buffett’s West Nashville Ballroom Gown features a duet between Snider and Kimbrough, and Don’t Tempt Me is a swinging country duet with Loretta Lynn. The deftly rocking Handleman’s Revenge  appeared on ‘Peace Queer’ as Stuck on the Corner (Prelude to a Heart Attack)..  The War on Terror — on “Peace Queer” as Is This Thing On? — is a funny andfunky,  acoustic ditty.

The Last Laugh is driven on by  a bluesy harmonica and organ. Very different is Highland Street Incident which shows a strong influence from one of his heroes Randy Newman. The benevolent acoustic closing track Good Fortune features additional vocal parts by Will Kimbrough and violinist Molly Thomas, plus most notably Kris Kristofferson.

The diversity that got this fine album rejected at first, now appears to be exactly what makes this an exquisite listening experience.

01. From a Dying Rose
02. Juice
03. Handleman’s Revenge
04. Don’t Tempt Me
05. The War on Terror
06. America’s Favorite Pastime [Doomed Version]
07. Doll Face [Doomed Version]
08. But Seriously Folks
09. West Nashville Grand Ballroom Gown [Doomed Version]
10. Mercer’s Folly
11. What Made You Do It
12. The Last Laugh [Doomed Version] 
13. Mission Accomplished (Because You Gotta Have Faith)
14. Slim Chance Is Still a Chance [Doomed Version]
15. Good Fortune [Doomed Version]