If Lovey captured Evan Dando as he found his signature blend of punk-pop, jangle pop, and folk-rock, It's a Shame About Ray is where he perfected that style. Breezing by in under half an hour, the album is a simple collection of sunny melodies and hooks, delivered with typical nonchalance by Dando. None of the songs are about anything major, nor do they have astonishingly original melodies, but that's part of their charm -- they're immediately accessible and thoroughly catchy. Dando's laid-back observations of middle-class outcasts are minor gems. The heartbroken title track or "Confetti," the crushes of "Bit Part in Your Life," the love letter to substances "My Drug Buddy," or the wonderful "Alison's Starting to Happen," where a girl finds herself as she discovers punk rock, capture the laconic rhythms of suburbia, and his warm, friendly voice, which is offset by Juliana Hatfield's harmonies, gives the songs an emotional resonance. It's a Shame About Ray was later re-released with a competent punk-pop remake of Simon & Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson" added as a bonus track. As Dando approached stardom, the album was repressed again with the title of "My Drug Buddy" truncated to "Buddy." It was later restored to its original title.
It's a Shame About Ray Review
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine