Album Review: Street Songs of Love by Alejandro Escovedo
Great, Based on 7 Critics
PopMatters - 90 Based on rating 9/10
The second decade of the new millennium has proven to be a fruitful one for those that like themselves some rock and roll. Not punk rock, not alternative rock. Rock and roll. With two guitars, drum and bass. Maybe a keyboard here and there, but with nary a bit of lily gilding. New records from ….
Previously dubbed ”Austin’s answer to Bruce Springsteen” in these pages, Alejandro Escovedo here gets an assist from the Boss himself as the great man drops in on one track. That’s a fitting imprimatur, since Street Songs of Love, produced by Tony Visconti (T. Rex, David Bowie), feels every bit as classic and immediate as, say, Springsteen’s The River.
Street Songs of Love, Alejandro Escovedo's tenth studio album, is the first time in his career he has written an album entirely comprised of visceral, aggressive rock & roll love songs. Tony Visconti (who produced The Real Animal) is back in the production seat with Bob Clearmountain mixing. Most of the album was co-written with Chuck Prophet, a partnership that began on The Real Animal, but it's grown into something intensely focused.
Unassuming excellence From his early work with the Nuns, on through Rank & File, the True Believers and more recently with his stellar solo albums, Alejandro Escovedo has remained a low-key legend. He’s a guy who, on any given night, can take one song and turn it into an orchestral ballad, a Stooges knife-fight or a Faces-flecked scratch-rocker; sometimes he’s David Bowie without the stage dress, sometimes he’s Townes Van Zandt with more easily-tamed ghosts, but he’s been a relentless—if largely unrecognized—presence on the musical landscape over the last few decades. But thanks in part to high-wattage fans like Bruce Springsteen, Escovedo now seems to have entered the early curves of a victory lap.
Over three decades, Texan poet-rocker Alejandro Escovedo has gone from first-wave punk (with the Nuns) to roots-rock trailblazer (with Rank and File), and was named artist of the 1990s by alt-country authority, No Depression. His 10th solo album retains a good deal of verve and flair, but not much of that pioneering spirit. A barroom-rockin' set of tales about that crazy old thing called love, Street Songs sits somewhere between Bruce Springsteen (a guest vocalist on Faith) and Huey Lewis.
At KGSR's 2008 anniversary concert, when asked how his heralded Real Animal had performed at market, Alejandro Escovedo scowled. "The same," he said. We were both disappointed. Always the bridesmaid. Or is that Animal gateway "Always a Friend" never the bride? Either way, now nine solo studio LPs ….
Alejandro Escovedo Street Songs of Love Fantasy Rating: “I’m in love with love, and it broke me in two,” Alejandro Escovedo sings on “Anchor,” the first cut on Street Songs of Love. Accordingly, this collection of flat-out rebel rockers, percolating funk and sweet ballads, his second co-written with Chuck Prophet and produced by Tony Visconti, picks through love’s broken shards as much as its romantic dreams. Oh, the desire’s there, and plenty of passion, but on “Silver Cloud,” he almost spits the line, “I’m a fool for your love,” as he and David Pulkingham duke it out with spiky guitar riffs.