Like so many other established recording artists, Jimmy Buffett has felt obliged to adopt current studio tricks in an attempt to get back on the radio, and Off to See the Lizard, his 16th studio album, produced by Elliot Scheiner, is full of synth pop arrangements with loud drums and icy keyboard parts, so that (theoretically) the tracks will sound to radio programmers like what's already on the radio, circa 1989. Of course, this sort of audio facelift usually doesn't work in the short term or the long term, and it certainly doesn't here. Five songs on the album share titles with short stories in Buffett's best-selling book Tales from Margaritaville, but they don't necessarily re-create those stories. As usual, Buffett drops literary references, cites his love of sea and sand on the Gulf Coast, and praises the easy life ("I Wish Lunch Could Last Forever," which actually is a love song of sorts). The commercial calculation of the album's sound seems to belie the studied casualness, but then Buffett has always worked hard to give the appearance of not working at all.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann