Other Songs

CD Cover Ron Sexsmith

Review by Darren Gawle

45-second excerpt from "Strawberry Blonde" (various formats)

As Mr. Rogers would say: "Gee boys and girls, can you say HYPE?" Every year, the Canadian music biz reps who haven't got two clues to rub together pick out a new act to hype the living shit out of. "Why, it's great! It reminds us of the music we used to like before we became completely jaded about the business!" they cry, not realizing that music has progressed more than a little since 1986. "Why, this says nothing to us and we're not going to buy it!" we cry back, and within a year said artist has been dropped. Remember the Leslie Spit Treeo? Remember Molly Johnson & the Infidels? In five years will you remember Ron Sexsmith?

No, you probably won't. Ron Sexsmith is being hyped right now because, after seven years of "alternative" music, songwriters are beginning to rediscover the lost art of songwriting. "Ah yes -- just like back in the days of Dan Hill!" you can hear the reps squeal with delight. Sexsmith isn't that bad, of course, but he sounds like he's headed for an adult contemporary easy-listening station near you, and fast, at that.

Other Songs is a mainly acoustic album of simple songs which recall the work of Daniel Lanois with a hint of the Neville Brothers. To my ears, though, it's just plain boring, although the production is generally interesting and occasionally evocative ("Average Joe," for example).

Sexsmith does have talent, but this is an album which will probably appeal more to your parents (and considering that theirs is the generation with jobs these days, Ron will probably make some well-earned cash). Just another case of the music industry in Canada aiming at the wrong market.

First published in Drop-D Magazine on August 16, 1997

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