Review : Todd Snider - Agnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables
Av ClubAgnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables is Snider’s 12th album, and it’s one of the roughest-hewn he’s ever made. With violinist/vocalist Amanda Shires offering a counterpoint in nearly every song—a conscious nod to Bob Dylan’s similarly careening Desire—Snider sings about the haves and have-nots from both perspectives, though when he adopts the persona of the former, it’s primarily to skewer their tortured self-justifications. Some of these Hymns & Fables are so simple and off-the-cuff that they barely hang together as “songs,” per se; Snider doesn’t seem overly concerned with hitting his marks, or even making sure that his lyrics fit neatly between the bars. Musically, the spirit of this album is best-captured by “Digger Dave’s Crazy Woman Blues,” a rambling, only occasionally rhyming anecdote set to a sloppy, gospel-tinged dirge....full text
TelegraphThe album's opening songs - In the Beginning and New York Banker - are also funny-scathing songs about religion and economic injustice and Snider admitted: “This record doesnʼt come from good times. I wanted to sound the way I feel, which sometimes means sounding like a broken soul.” Nothing captures that feeling better on the album than his cover of Jimmy Buffett's cold-eyed dissection of estrangement in the song West Nashville Grand Ballroom Gown.
Don't expect to find Todd Snider in the easy listening rack of a record store. His new album Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables contains the song Precious Little Miracles, in which sweet Hoagy Carmichael-style acoustic melody overlay disturbing and potent lyrics (co-written with Will Kimbrough) about America's violent and alienated youth....full text
Paste magazineThere’s nothing easy or relaxing about any of the songs on Agnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables. Guns, backstabbing, betrayal and dreams left in the dust spew like shrapnel from Snider’s loose cannon approach to telling a story. The opening track, ‘In the Beginning,’ which argues that from the very start of civilization, religion has been the tool that the rich have used to control the poor, is typical of Snider’s perspective. Even when situations seem to turn out right in his songs, there’s always an implied threat around the corner. For instance, the deceptively gentle lullaby for “Precious Little Miracles” with its lovely vintage Hoagy Carmichael-style acoustic melody may lull listeners into a sense of calm at first, but listen carefully and lyrics such as “so, your school is a joke and you’ll always be poor and your pleas to the rich won’t be heard anymore/is that what you crazy kids are so upset for?” could be enough to set anyone’s day on edge. Add to that the sloppy, Keith Richards-style just-out-of-bed guitar riffs that Snider so obviously loves and uses to great effect on songs like the acerbic “New York Banker,” and Agnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables may just be a serious contender for the album with the worst attitude of 2012. Thanks Todd!...full text
Rough StockTodd Snider is Alt-county’s new liberal troubadour, and pretty much anyone who buys a Todd Snider album does so knowing full well what they will be getting. And, it would be a fair assessment that Agnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables is more of the same. (It would also be fair to say that Agnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables would be an accurate description of Snider’s career.) However, when the stuff is this good, more of the same is still more good music. While the album is not as song-for-song perfect as East Nashville Skyline, Agnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables does make the listener laugh and think. In an election year when vitriol has already hit all time highs, laughing and thinking are a much needed break. It make not be his best album, but Agnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables is a much needed dose of humor and sanity for some crazy times....full text
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