Life's Too Short

by: Marshall Crenshaw

Marshall Crenshaw entered the '90s, following his departure from Warner Bros., with a new label, his hardest rocking album to date, and hope of a rejuvenated career. Backed for the most part by the rhythm section of Kenny Aronoff (drums) and Fernando Saunders (bass), Life's Too Short adds to the muscle that Crenshaw had been building in recent years, while at the same time stripping away the slight sheen of his previous two releases. It's also arguably his best collection of tunes since 1983's Field Day. With the expectations and pressure to recapture the success of his debut seemingly behind him, Crenshaw appears to have found a renewed sense of freedom and vitality here, and not since Downtown has he sounded so natural and at home. The opener, "Better Back Off," kick starts the record with a quote from the Rolling Stones and then proceeds to offer words of love and encouragement, with music that's both as tough and as sweet as its sentiment. Furthermore, with cuts such as "Delilah," "Stop Doing That," "Walkin' Around," and "Fantastic Planet of Love," he strikes a nice balance between self-assured rocker and pop craftsman, while steering clear of tired, power pop clichés. He also brings an adult sensibility to the material, which effortlessly walks the line between innocent and mature, and simple and complex. Difficult to find, as well as being Crenshaw's last major label release, Life's Too Short is another terrific yet commercially underappreciated work by an artist that, though responsible for some of the most irresistible songs of the '80s and '90s, seems inevitably destined for cult status. ~ Brett Hartenbach

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