Tim Heidecker

In Glendale

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As one half of Heidecker & Wood -- arguably the first post-Yacht Rock soft rock parody project -- Tim Heidecker blended humor with genuine affection for the music of the '70s and '80s. There's a similar warmth to In Glendale, though this time he follows in the singer/songwriter footsteps of Bruce Hornsby, Jackson Browne, and Billy Joel. Once again, Heidecker wouldn't be able to pull this album off if he didn't really love this kind of music. "Good Looking Babies" is a perfect example of the kind of story-song -- about a couple's beginning and end -- that disappeared sometime in the late '80s, and is one of the few times In Glendale approaches Heidecker & Wood's parodies. However, aside from a few shorter, goofier songs like "Ghost in My Bed" and the rollicking "When the Cash Runs Out," the humor in Heidecker's stories and confessions is more subtle as he plays with singer/songwriter cliches and even squeezes some pathos out of them. "I Dare You to Watch Me Sleep" is more tense, and more sophisticated, than any of his previous music, while "Ocean's Too Cold" retains some of the poignancy of dysfunctional family ballads even as it sends them up. In Glendale is most potent when Heidecker pairs slices of 21st century life with sounds that are old enough to have a mid-life crisis, whether it's "Work from Home"'s Joel-esque portrait of hungover telecommuting or "Central Air"'s gentrification blues ("Same congressional district as Silver Lake/Like anyone cares."). Likewise, "Cleaning Up the Dog Shit"'s portrait of the messier side of settling down and "In Glendale"'s celebration of being near the hubbub, but not in it, are funny but also revealing in a way that feels new in Heidecker's music. As always, In Glendale is a lot of fun, especially for fans who are prepared to smile in recognition at these songs rather than laugh at them.

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