Release Date: January 22, 2013
Daniel Romano‘s Come Cry With Me is an album that I, admittedly, probably wouldn’t have listened to if it weren’t for the fact that I used to listen to a lot of Attack in Black, the punk/indie/aggro-whatever band he used to be the frontman of. I’m not particularly well versed in country music (something I should probably fix soon) and because of this I’m not sure if the songs (and especially the album title) are either deadpan satire of the genre as a whole or an honest (read: fabricated) attempt to be young Willie Nelson 2.0.
I’m going to take “the principle of charity” approach to this review though, as a songwriter as talented as Romano definitely deserves at least that much respect.
Come Cry With Me is a tongue and cheek look at the country of old (what one of my good friends lovingly and aptly refers to as “emo for old people”) . The majority of the lyrics deal with heartache and breakups in a completely stripped down and upfront way, akin to most country songs that weren’t written about the singer’s truck; and even then…
I honestly can’t get over the title and album art. This is why I believe that Daniel is a master of sarcasm and storytelling. He obviously enjoys writing this style of music, he’s pretty talented at it and this is not his first foray into the style, but there’s still an overarching feel that he believes in the antithesis of all this at the same time. Blah blah duality of man blah blah blah.
This album seems to be written from the point of view of a bizarro-Daniel Romano. He has created an album with clever, well thought out lyrics – especially in “I’m Not Crying Over You”, wherein he sings about being an actor only pretending to be sad for “a role he’s working on,” not due to his recent fictional breakup – that sit nicely among the ranks of Hank Williams, Willie Nelson and Kenny Rogers. The lyrics are definitely the high point of this album. There are a few standout melodies, but they’re most memorable due to the words that put them together.
I’m sure the style has a lot to do with it, but most of the songs start to meld together for me. The standout tracks (“I’m Not Crying Over You,” “A New Love Can Be Found,” “He Let Her Memory Go (Wild)”) are ear worms of the most vicious breed, but there is a lack of variety from song got song, which is only accentuated by the ample use of 3/4 time. While they do fit the mold Romano worked to build for this album, I can’t remember a few of them, even after multiple, consecutive listens of the album
Romano’s songwriting is actually an interesting evolution of the country our parents listened to. His facetiousness and unwillingness to take things too seriously coupled with his refusal to stray too far from traditions will resonate with a lot of 20- and 30-somethings who might have previously written off the genre. I’m not discrediting old country songwriting in any way: comedy and heartache (and comedy about heartbreak) aren’t themes strictly confined to the stage at the Grand Ole Opry. That said, calling Come Cry With Me “self aware” would be a gross understatement. It is desperate and beautiful at times, and sardonic at others. The lack of variety might turn some new fans away, but for those willing to seek out more, Romano has opened the doors to mid-century country for a generation that barely knows that it exists.