Probably as good an album as Chesnutt has made, Is the Actor Happy? verifies his standing as one of the most relevant songwriters of the '90s. Pristine production that insures that not a note is wasted or out of place, it provides the perfect vehicle for Chesnutt's slice-of-life short stories. At times more accessible than the average Chesnutt record with instantly engaging tracks like "Gravity of the Situation," "Onion Soup" and "Guilty By Association" (featuring Michael Stipe), it is still not by any means a light-hearted affair. The album is a beautiful testament to Chesnutt's unique voice and the adversity that he's been through. Heartbreakingly delicate folk rock arrangements are followed by crashing guitar crescendos as the perfect vehicles for taking Chesnutt's songs to places very few songwriters have been or can go.
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AllMusic Review by Matt Fink