Mike Doughty

Golden Delicious

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On 2005's Haughty Melodic, Mike Doughty took steps to move away from his purely acoustic solo material, bringing in piano and horns to fill out his sound. Golden Delicious stretches even further into radio-friendly adult alternative, and in fact little resembles the singer's earlier work. "27 Jennifers," which was originally found on the 2003 EP Rockity Roll, is revisited here, with added electric guitars and a swirling keyboard solo that might have come straight out of 1986, but even with all the accoutrements, the song ends up being one of the better ones on the album. Because lyrically, much of the material is quite weak, something that's not helped by the overly simplistic (and similar) melodies and arrangements (the first two tracks, for example, "Fort Hood" and "I Just Want the Girl in the Blue Dress to Keep on Dancing," are nearly identical, except the former's chorus chooses to borrow from Galt MacDermot's "Let the Sunshine In," while the latter riffs on "The Little Drummer Boy"). There are still some moments that show what Doughty is capable of, where he holds back on the production and instrumentation and lets his acoustic guitar chords and voice take over, like in the darker "I Got the Drop on You," which references his Soul Coughing days while still coming across as an original, but this is a rarity among the slick and silly tracks that make up the rest of Golden Delicious. "More Bacon Than the Pan Can Handle" is intended as a nod to his love of hip-hop and sampling, but is pure kitsch instead, an imitation that degrades the inspiration. The album's not an entirely lost cause: there are songs -- the aforementioned "I Got the Drop on You," the Death Cabby "Wednesday (No Se Apoye)," even "I Wrote a Song About Your Car" -- that demonstrate Doughty's abilities, but unfortunately these moments stick out among the overwhelming fluff.

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