Excitable Boy

Warren Zevon

Asylum Records, 1978


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Whether it's a blessing or a curse, Warren Zevon will always be known for one song: "Werewolves Of London." A three-chord masterpiece, Zevon captured the ears of many people with his song and asides, and became a cult favorite quickly.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Twenty years later, that album, Excitable Boy, sounds as fresh as the day he recorded it, and even though there are a few misses on the album, it is an enjoyable work.

Zevon benefitted from the work of two friends, Waddy Wachtel (who provides almost all the guitar work and co-produced the album) and Jackson Browne, who also served as co-producer. Together, they crafted a sound that was crisp and alive - even today, in the digital age, this album sounds like a live creature.

Zevon's view of life can only be called twisted, as the title track demonstrates. A tale of a manic youth whose actions are brushed off by society, it is a song that delivers its message rather strongly. "Lawyers, Guns And Money" almost sounds like something that would come from the pen of William S. Borroughs than a pop artist, and is a surprisingly strong track.

But Zevon also knows how to write a serious track, as evidenced on many selections on Excitable Boy. "Accidentally Like A Martyr," "Veracruz" and "Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner" tell some strong stories in the lyrics, and are backed by solid musical performances.

However, Excitable Boy does have some weak moments. The opening track "Johnny Strikes Up The Band" fails to go anywhere, and isn't the best way to start the album. "Nighttime In The Switching Yard" and "Tenderness On The Block" also fail to light up the speakers.

All in all, Excitable Boy is an album that demonstrates the power of Zevon more than any shortcomings, and is well worth adding to your collection - that is, if you haven't done so already.

Rating: B-

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© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Asylum Records, and is used for informational purposes only.