Jealous Haters Since 1998!
Home | News | Reviews | Day In Rock | Photos | RockNewsWire | Singled Out | Tour Dates/Tix | Feeds
Michael Hall - The Song He Was Listening To When He Died Review

by Kevin Wierzbicki

As a long time denizen of Austin, Texas, Michael Hall has assimilated into his songbook the veritable cornucopia of sounds that the musically overachieving city has to offer. He has worked with former True Believers Alejandro Escovedo and Jon Dee Graham, both now well respected solo acts, members of Lyle Lovett's Large Band, Rosie Flores, Poi Dog Pondering and Walter Salas-Humara. Over the course of seven solo albums Hall has explored every facet of Americana but here he makes a delightful return to the sound he favored with his early band, the Wild Seeds. The Wild Seeds put out two albums that were an excellent introduction to Hall's songwriting style, mesmerizing with simple but meaningful lyrics on acoustic numbers like "Big Moon" one minute and rocking the rafters with "Debbie Came Back" the next. A similar vibe permeates The Song He Was… as he starts off with the plaintive "Out Where the Highways Roll," not so much a road song as it is a longing-for-the-road song. At first listen "Summer" seems to be a joyful celebration of the sweaty and carefree season but a closer listen reveals that the song is about trying to hold a relationship together until, for some reason, summer. The song's sadness is between the lines if you want it to be or overt if you feel like empathizing. Not many fun things to sing about from a stint in Vietnam but the character in "I Had a Girl in Dien Bien Phu" relishes the, uh, "down time" spent with a hooker. The song rocks along with a quirky electro-beat, a stark contrast to "Beautiful" where Hall accompanies himself on slowly-played Wurlitzer while turning phrases like "You'd never be so cruel/To an animal or a fool/How could you be so wrong/Could you be so out of tune?" The title song comes mid-album and it's as if Hall gives himself a break from more serious matters with some Jimmy Buffet-style fun. And while "The Song He Was…" is a lighthearted romp, "America" is downright funny. The song has a regal beginning that makes you think it's a patriotic ode but it quickly turns into a joke at your expense by being about the rock band America, they of "Horse with No Name" fame. By the time the mandolin flourishes of "The Wedding" are over, so is half of the disc, and at this point Hall has delivered more than most do on full albums. One effect that Hall uses throughout that will surprise longtime fans is the interjection of synth sounds---weird blips and gurgles---that seem at odds with otherwise demure arrangements. The technique comes to a boil on "Captain, Captain" where Hall rocks like Neil Young during his Trans phase. Clearly not a minute of Hall's musical life has been wasted and this album lives up to what you would expect from a journeyman songwriter.

CD Info and Links

Michael Hall - The Song He Was Listening To When He Died

Label:City Hall / Freedom

Preview and Purchase This CD Online

Visit the official homepage

More articles for this artist

tell a friend about this review



News Reports
• Day in Rock:
Journey's Neal Schon Wants To Work With Steve Perry Again- Serj Tankian Addresses System Of A Down Issues- Jack White Does Rockin' Jam With Pearl Jam- Rolling Stones- more

• Day in Pop

• Yesterday's Day in Rock: Taylor Swift Reveals Her Mother Has Cancer- Rich Homie Quan Surrenders To Police Over Alleged Nightclub Assault- Justin Bieber Duets With Ariana Grande- Mumford & Sons- more

 Subscribe To Day in Rock


• Ladies Only: Jennie Abrahamson- Rachel Garlin- Nneka- More

• Album of the Week: Led Zeppelin's When The West Was Won

• Karyn Crisis' Gospel Of The Witches - Salem's Wounds

• The Blues: John Mayall's Bluesbreakers- Arlen Roth, Mike Henderson Band- Slam Allen

• Trauma Interview

• December in Red - The Way Out

• Battleaxe - Power From the Universe Reissue

• SOKO Interview

• The Compulsions - Dirty Fun

• Rock Reads: Morbid Tales! A Tribute to Celtic Frost

• Death Penalty - Death Penalty

• On The Record: The Wild Beyond

• RockPile: Minutian- Odin's Court- THEO

• Michael Ubaldini Interview

• Root 66: Cameron Mitchell- Stacy Jones- Greg Shirley


Search for Tickets

Or Browse For Tickets

Today's Rock News

• Ozzy Sets Home On Fire

• Santana, Neal Schon and Gregg Rolie Reunite at Journey Show

• Ted Nugent's Wife Arrested

• Iron Maiden Tops Billboard's Hot Tours Chart

• Pop Star Fergie Names Son After Guns N' Roses Frontman Axl Rose

• Jack White Recording New Songs With The Dead Weather

• Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington Reveal EP Details

• The Who Releasing Massive Super Deluxe Edition of Tommy

• Paul McCartney Talks New Song and His Plans Never To Retire

• August Burns Red Announce Special Screening of Documentary

• The National Curating Grateful Dead Tribute Album

• KISS' Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons Announce Book Signings

• Mike Portnoy Reveals Full Progressive Nation At Sea Lineup

• Saxon's Biff Byford Explains Evil Look Was Down To Illness

• Astrid Kirchherr's Early Beatles Photos To Be Exhibited Next Month

• Gene Simmons and Engelbert Humperdinck Footage Goes Online

• Red Fang Streaming New Song ' Blood Like Cream' Online

• Sammy Hagar Compares Les Paul Guitars To Muscle Cars

• What Do Crocheting And Rock 'N' Roll Have In Common? Deap Vally

• Classic Rock Going Country

Subscribe to Day in Rock Report by Email

Today's Pop News

• North Korea Reportedly Execute 12 Musicians

• Jay-Z Releases Holy Grail Video Featuring Justin Timberlake

• Big Sean in Fall Out Boy's New Video

• Thousands of Justin Timberlake Fans Flood 'Take Back The Night' Filming

• Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O Unplugs

• Miguel Covers Pink's Just Like A Pill

• Eric Church Going In A Different Direction With 'Chief' Follow Up

• Kip Moore Has Almost Finished New Album

• Juicy J Twerk Tweet Ends Up As Scholarship Competition

• Danny Brown's On Stage Sex Act Was Not Planned

• Bastille Trace The Best Of British Rock, Including Morrissey's Pompadour

• Singled Out: Dulcinea Renee's Pictures Of You

More News

anti Worthy Links
• The Screen Door • superLOUD • A Journal of Musical Things • Lloyd Zeffler blog • Demolish Mag • Nightwatcher's House of Rock • CJ Chilvers • Deja Voodoo • The 1st Five • • Hard Rock Memorabilia • Day in Rock @twitter

New Mystery Book from
antiMusic's Dawn Marie Fichera!

Click Here to Buy T-Shirts!
Click Here to Buy T-Shirts!


Tell a Friend about this page - Contact Us - Privacy - antiMusic Email - Why we are antiMusic

Copyright© 1998 - 2013 Iconoclast Entertainment Group All rights reserved. antiMusic works on a free link policy for reprinting of our original articles, click here for details. Please click here for legal restrictions and terms of use applicable to this site. Use of this site signifies your agreement to the terms of use.