No artist waits 40 years to introduce himself, so the title of Glen Campbell's 2008 album, Meet Glen Campbell, can be taken with a grain of salt -- unless it's seen as a way to introduce Campbell to a new, younger audience, which certainly seems to be the intention of this record, as it finds the countrypolitan crooner abandoning the bland professional songwriters he's relied upon in the '80s and '90s and turning to newer rock & rollers. That these younger rock & rollers include Tom Petty and Jackson Browne should give some indication that this isn't quite as daring a move as it may initially seem, even if Campbell does cover the Replacements here, but daring isn't the name of the game on Meet Glen Campbell and thankfully neither is irony, as this never succumbs to the cringing camp of Pat Boone singing metal. Thanks to producers Julian Raymond and Howard Willing -- who enlist the help of plenty of modern pop thoroughbreds, including Roger Joseph Manning, Jr.
Who knew the Foo Fighters’ ”Times Like These” could sound like…”Galveston”? Possibly only producer Julian Raymond, who here pairs country singer Glen Campbell, 72, with melancholy songs by rock icons ranging from John Lennon (”Grow Old With Me”) and Jackson Browne (”These Days”) to the Replacements (”Sadly Beautiful”) and U2 (”All I Want Is You”) on Meet Glen Campbell. The initially spectacular ’60s orchestration eventually begins to wear, but the Wichita Lineman does imbue already good tracks like Tom Petty’s ”Walls” and Travis’ ”Sing” with a genuine sense of grandeur. B+DOWNLOAD THIS: Listen to ”Sing” and the rest of the album on Glen Campbell’s website .
GLEN CAMPBELL Meet Glen Campbell (Capitol) Rating: NNN The sleeve sticker says the surprisingly sussed song selection for this Glen Campbell comeback bid - with tracks written by the Velvet Underground, Replacements, Foo Fighters, Green Day and U2 - was "hand-picked by Glen," contrary to what Campbell writes in the liner notes, thanking producer Julian Raymond (Fastball, Wallflowers) for having "hand-picked each song." We'll go with the latter, since Raymond also built the band around Roger Joseph Manning Jr. and Jason Falkner, neither of whom Campbell could've selected from a police lineup. So Campbell had some help getting back on track.