It’s fairly difficult, and kind of boring, to try to intelligently describe the somewhat off humor and unassuming brilliance in Todd Snider’s lyrics. It’s a little more useful to offer a sample from “Slim Chance,” one the songs on his latest album, The Excitement Plan:
I found a four-leaf clover
In my yard today.
It had one leaf missing off it
But that was okay.
Looking it over, I could easily see
Four is only really just one more than three
And that’s close enough for me
my lucky day…
But this doesn’t quite do it either. Snider’s just one of a kind—with an innocence and genius to his writing and his tongue-in-cheek folky delivery. This release is designed as sort of a musical stimulus package. He’s so clever, and you could probably use a laugh, couldn’t you? “America’s Pastime” is a hilarious depiction of Doc Ellis pitching while tripping; “Money, Compliments, Publicity” sends up the entire entertainment industry, though not everyone will get it.
All of Snider’s albums are wonderful, but this one has two ingredients that Snider hasn’t used before: Don Was and Loretta Lynn. Was produced this album, which seems to mean that while he doesn’t fuss with Snider’s basic approach, arrangements featuring unassailable sidemen Jim Keltner and Greg Liesz are a little more pointed—like perfect frames for the pictures Snider draws. Lynn duets with Snider on the honky-tonk song, “Don’t Tempt Me,” and clearly, any album with Loretta Lynn singing on it is better than an album without her.
Must Play: “Don’t Tempt Me”
Producer: Don Was. Engineer: Krish Harma. Studio: Henson Studios, L.A.