Tuesday, September 11, 2012

CD Review: Hugh Hart - Idolizer

Singer-songwriter Hugh Hart is about to follow up his 2010 collection of satirical songs, How To Be A Millionaire, with the four-track EP, Idolizer. The actual song “Idolizer,” a catchy and fun tribute to a guy’s obsession with fashion models, that Hart originally recorded with the band Wedge in 1996, isn’t included. Hopefully, it will be on the full CD version, which is due out later this year.
There’s a lot of nicely-turned rhymes in the lyrics for the Idolizer EP, although Hart mostly has a darker purpose for them. “They Just Keep Coming On” moves to a deceptively amiable Country and Western beat even as Hart laments bickering politicians and the casualties of war: “Kids are starving while they bitch and bargain, guttin’ my future on a whim/Soldiers dying, or they come home crying, fitted with an artificial limb.” The melodic and mid-tempo “All Fall Down” deals with the struggle just to survive.

“Too Many Tears” has a more soulful feel, with a horn section and backup singers, as it focuses on an employee caught up in corporate corruption. The vocals and sentiment are reminiscent of some of Graham Nash’s better protest songs. “We got a rupture in the structure of the system,” Hart declares. The sparse “You Never Crack” tackles frustration on the relationships level, as a guy tries to break through his girlfriend’s icy exterior. Idolizer is a bit low key at times, but it’s thought-provoking and well-crafted. A journalist as well as musician who got his start with The Odd back in Chicago’s original new wave explosion in the 1980s, Hart always has some interesting things to say.  

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