"MP4" by Michael Penn (2000)
This is a magnificent piece of work by a terrific singer/songwriter who never quite emerged from the shadow of the kind of success everyone expected him to achieve. The brother of actors Sean and Chris Penn, and the husband of Aimee Mann, (whose newest opus is also reviewed) Michael hit the airwaves in 1990 with the intricate No Myth from his debut album March, but hasn"t really made it back onto the radio or into the public eye since. I saw him live during his earlier salad days as a solo act and it was absolutely fantastic. As the title suggests, MP4 is Penn"s fourth, and I definitely consider it to be his most satisfying work to date. Touching and eloquent odes to love relationships dominate, as well as his signature Beatlesque-ishness that owes more to Harrison than Lennon and is certainly remindful of Matthew Sweet. Lovely record, a good way to embark on a century.
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