Highlights: In C, All In A Family, The Days That We Die
As you would probably guess from the title, Loudon Wainwright III’s latest is about things like death and getting older. In terms styles, in terms of the actual music, the album is predictably all over the place. Wainwright is this old-time, old-fart (that’s totally affectionate) singer-songwriter who is stuck so beautifully and comfortably in his comfort zone: rootsy charm, redneck humour, piano ballads.
Of course, with no less than 15 songs Older Than My Old Man Now is, while not necessarily erratic, a mixed bag. However, there’s no question that you’ll end up loving at least three or four of these songs. It’s a very warm, cozy record, made even more so by the presence of his super-talented kids: Lucy, Rufus and Martha are all here.
Unfortunately, every time one of these songs sounds good to my ears, I end up wondering why can’t he make a whole album like that. There’s “In C”, a beautiful, introspective piano ballad with a simple but truly inspirational melody. There’s a strangely McCartney-esque pop of “All In A Family”. A few others. But it’s all good, the kind of no-great-shakes good would expect to get from Wainwright. I do actively dislike songs like the opening “The Here And The Now” (annoying and pedestrian) and particularly “I Remember Sex” (annoying and embarrassing), but they don’t overshadow the rest of the album.
At just a little under one hour, the album tires you a little, but does well to showcase different facets of Wainwright’s personality and songwriting. Overall, a deeply satisfying listen – however, I do find myself coming back to just those three or four songs I ended up loving the best…