6.8

Bob Schneider: A Perfect Day

Music Reviews Bob Schneider
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Bob Schneider: <em>A Perfect Day</em>

Once upon a Bob Schneider incarnation, you could buy a t-shirt with a growling lion and the word “FRUNK” in all caps just above it. Frunk, if I recall correctly, was Schneider’s invented name for his sound, at the time loosely definable as rock songs with silly (and sometimes oddly insightful) lyrics, funky bass lines, and a generous splash of horns when the mood struck. Frunk fell out of fashion when he parsed down his weird humor to play with a more serious folk-rock sound, but even then there was an adventurous audacity to the arrangements he spackled together. In that way, it’s easy to hear A Perfect Day as just the latest in a long line of records of Bob Schneider trying to find himself.

This time, he’s just unfortunately mostly found himself playing what some old-head, hepcat would label, “adult contemporary.” As before, there’s a generous mix of ideas, but this time there’s a predominance of some downright cheesy ones (every lyric on “Penelope Cruz,” as if you couldn’t have guessed). Many would label this maturity, but on first listen it just sounds like a lazy throwback to ‘80s and early ‘90s pop radio. Oddly, it’s when he shucks any attempt to maintain modern rock dignity to dip into those wild influences that he’s the most successful. “Am I Missing Something,” a blatant Prince rip-off, is the most risky example that for whatever reason carries the listener with horn inflections and handclaps. “Another Bad Idea” brings things back to Earth, but keeps the listener dancing with tambo rattles and a joyous hook. A perfect record this is not; it takes a few listens to hear through the recycled pop of yesteryear and into the unabashed summer afternoon groove, but once you’re there, everything is breezy.

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