Dar Williams - Promised Land
- Artist: Dar Williams
- Album: Promised Land
- Label: Razor & Tie
- Year of Release: 2008
- ME Rating:
- Reviewed by: patchen on 2009-06-01
Returning from a three year hiatus, Dar Williams' latest offers nothing new, which will please her legion of fans. "Promised Land" is filled with the poetic, country/folk-tinged ballads and light Pop she is famous for, though nothing jumps out as a strong, add-it-to-the Best-Of list. Joined by Marshall Crenshaw and Suzanne Vega, Williams remains in familiar territory, making this a rather safe effort.
Of the dozen tracks, "It's Alright" and "Summerday" percolate with driving but melodic pop rhythms. "Troubled Times" and "You Are Everyone" are two songs on which Williams' writing carries the day; the lyrics are strong, intimate and powerful Producer Brad Wood (Liz Phair, Smashing Pumpkins) seems to encourage the pop side of things a little too often. A few other songs might have benefitted from a more spare arrangement, allowing her words to center the action.
Tracks like "Midnight Radio" and "Holly Tree," however, would not be saved. Here, aside from the bland melodies, the lyrics are either self-serving or precious. "Radio" is basically an Alanis-esque litany of thank you's to heroes, an idea that was annoying the first time around.
In all, Dar Williams's large fan base will help keep "Promised Land" afloat. In the future, she may need to stretch out a bit, and not toward more radio-friendly schmooze. Her strength has always been her writing and her voice, and, with a few exceptions, neither really cut loose this time.
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