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Genius: The Best of Warren Zevon

music reviewmusic reviewmusic reviewmusic review  out of 4 Music Review: Genius: The Best of Warren Zevon

Artist: Warren Zevon
Genre: Rock/Pop
Release Date: October 2002

Review by Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
4 stars out of 4

Warren Zevon, the excitable boy, gained notoriety as a songwriter and performer in the 70's. Linda Rondstadt popularized several of his songs such as "Hasten Down The Wind" and "Poor Poor Pitiful Me." "Werewolves of London," a classic rock staple, is easily the most recognizable and successful song he has ever recorded, and it still gets its share of airplay to this day. There is some bad news about Warren; he has inoperable lung cancer. In typical Zevon style and aplomb, he retorted- "It will be a drag if I miss the next James Bond movie." Laughing in the face of death takes a lot of courage. It does not surprise me at all that he responded that way. The lyrics to his songs are full of dark and enjoyable humor that does not take life to seriously. After all, are we not but a spec of dust in a vast and endless universe?

"Genius: The Best of Warren Zevon" covers nearly his entire career. It's the broadest perspective found on one disc to date. Full to capacity with 22 tracks of rock-pop excellence, this compilation offers some of his best work. Will Self also contributes some…let us say…interesting liner notes to add more color to the package. He talks about his relationship with a transsexual and their love for Zevon's music in detail.

There is only one track that does not belong on this set, "Raspberry Beret," recorded by Zevon's Hindu Love Gods. It somehow loses its entire meaning if Prince is not singing it. All the other 21 tracks are perfect. Zevon had a knack for writing personal stories with bits of humor, sadness, and life on life's terms interjected throughout a song. "Detox Mansion" is self-explanatory…He matter-of-factly sings-"It's tough to be somebody and not fall apart." I am sure there are countless people in Hollywood that can relate to that statement. I also always enjoyed the ironic twists of "Lawyers, Guns and Money." Besides being a great rocker, the lyrics and posturing are hysterical.

This man has beyond the shadow of a doubt, lived a full life. Warren always cut right to the chase in his upbeat rockin' poppy tunes and he never held anything back. Now that he is on a time clock of life that is ticking ever so fast and running out, he is in the studio recording everything he possibly can. Knowing him, he will leave behind more great songs for us to laugh and cry about. Who and what he was all about are waiting for you in his music. You simply cannot afford to pass up on this marvelous collection of lyrical wit and artisanship. Zevon has always been one of the best, and you will know this without reservation after one listen to this CD. If you peruse the credits to each song, you will find many well-known artists that worked with him. His peers obviously respect him very much. "I Was In The House When The House Burned Down" takes on an entirely different perspective now considering were he is at in his current state of life. It does not matter though; he will continue to entertain us all until he parts ways with this physical life. I know it sounds so final and gruesome, but that is the reality of life for him and his fans. We can still celebrate his music long after he is gone.



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