Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Warren Zevon: My Ride's Here [Artemis, 2002]
The frustrated classical composer turned Everlys bandleader was never much of a folkie, and his sense of rhythm has always cried out for timpani. Which is to say that he was made to write rockist art songs the way Albert Einstein was made to make out like Charlie Sheen--which Zevon claims he was and I believe. Zevon's not above touring acoustic to shore up his collateral, but his records come full regalia, with musical input from his big-ticket studio buddies matching the lyrical input of his literary admirers. He's at his best in the fictional-mythic mode that prevails here--e.g., the title tune, in which Jesus Christ, Charlton Heston, and Warren Zevon know what it is to be dead. His Irving Azoff farewell Mutineer in 1995 and his minor-label debut Life'll Kill Ya were honorable mentions of the honorable kind. This step up comes just two years later, making more good new albums total over that span than Neil Young, Lou Reed, Public Enemy, Madonna, or Bob Dylan. A-