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CD Reviews: Review of Reconsider Me: The Love Songs by Warren Zevon
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Click here to buy yourself a copy from Amazon.com Warren Zevon: Reconsider Me: The Love Songs (Artemis  2006)

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I loved Warren Zevon. I was totally thrown for a loop when he announced that he was dying of cancer, but I was in awe of how he approached his imminent death when discussing it on “The Late Show with David Letterman.” Still, when Zevon died, I ain’t gonna lie to you: I shed some tears. I’m still not entirely convinced that the world needs another collection of previously-released songs, even if this one takes a different tactic than any of the earlier compilations, but if it introduces more people to his work, it can’t be that bad a thing.

Reconsider Me: The Love Songs attempts to paint a picture of Zevon as the great lost romantic lyricist of our era, and it’s a premise that isn’t without merit. The collection takes its title from a track from Sentimental Hygiene, which is as straightforward as a wordsmith like Warren ever got with his love songs, as evidenced by the chorus:

And I'll never make you sad again
Cause I swear that I've changed since then
And I promise that I'll never make you cry
Let's let bygones
Be forgotten
Reconsider me
Reconsider me

In the liner notes, producer Jorge Calderon said that Zevon wrote “Reconsider Me” for his fans because he wanted to give them a kind-hearted, plaintive song that was emotionally direct and not overtly dark, adding, “You know what Warren told me? The fans didn’t give a shit.” So you can imagine the majority of the content on this disc isn’t what you’d call traditional romanticism. In fact, a lot of the tracks are more anti-love songs, like “For My Next Trick, I’ll Need a Volunteer,” which opens with the couplets, “I can saw a woman in two / But you won't want to look in the box when I do / I can make love disappear / For my next trick, I'll need a volunteer.” Or they’re unique love stories, like “Hostage-O,” the lyrics of which are best summed up as emotional S&M. There’s even an unlikely cover song: Steve Winwood’s “Back in the High Life Again,” which is interpreted in surprisingly straightforward fashion, but with a vocal performance by Zevon that reminds listeners of how far he fell into alcoholism and how he managed to get his life back.

But if there’s any song more poignant and sad than “Keep Me In Your Heart” – where Zevon, dying of lung cancer at the time of its recording, sings the lines, “Shadows are falling and I'm running out of breath / Keep me in your heart for a while / If I leave you, it doesn't mean I love you any less / Keep me in your heart for a while” – I don’t think I have the emotional strength to listen to it. The greatest irony is that the song that best encapsulates the concept of this collection is defined as a bonus track: “Don’t Let Us Get Sick,” where Zevon – ironically, as it turns out – sings:

Don’t let us get sick
Don’t let us get old
Don’t let us get stupid, alright?
Just make us be brave
And let us play nice
And let us be together tonight.

The only real failing of this collection is that is doesn’t really cover Zevon’s career in its entirety. It visits his early material just briefly, through “Accidentally Like a Martyr” and “Tenderness on the Block,” but, otherwise, it skips through a lot of his work in favor of later stuff…not coincidentally, one suspects, because it’s on Artemis Records. Still, what’s here is great; just don’t forget to treat it as the tip of the iceberg, because there’s lots more where this comes from.

~Will Harris



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