11 May 2007

Jimmy Buffett - "Take the Weather with You When You Go"

Take the Weather with You
Jimmy Buffett
Release Date: 10 October 2006

Originally published on MySpace

Released after Hurricane Katrina, 
Take the Weather with You was sort of the official musical statement from the region's official musician.  Unfortunately, the extent of Jimmy Buffett's comment seems to be, "Well, that sucked; let's keep the party going."  There is no outrage, no political commentary, not even really much of pause to reflect on the lives lost.  In short, Take the Weather with You was made by a man in denial.The songs that acknowledge the destruction ("Bama Breeze," "Party at the End of the World," "Wheel Inside the Wheel") persist with this "the show must go on" mentality.

"Wheel Inside the Wheel" is written specifically about New Orleans, namechecking Satchmo and the Saints, but somehow fails to even turn those figures into heroic symbols.  The rest of the album meanders from reflecting on Elvis Presley ("Elvis Presley Blues") to celebrating "Cinco de Mayo in Memphis" to covering Merle Haggard's "Silver Wings."  Even outside the context of being a post-Katrina album from a figure one would expect to have a lot to say about the subject, there is little cohesion to the album.

In fact, some songs not only fail to seem to belong on the album together, but it's hard to understand how they made the album at all.  "Everybody's on the Phone" is a 4:27 lament over how techno-addicted we've become.  The idea is nothing new, but more importantly, Buffett fails to say anything new about it.  Which is disappointing, since I recall he was the one who infamously lost his cell phone at a club nearly two years ago, leading to the guy who found it crank calling former President Clinton.  If anyone had an opportunity to spin an engaging song out of our current cell phone addicted culture, it was Jimmy Buffett.  That he missed the mark is just another in the disappointments of this album.