The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion were one of the most viscerally exciting indie rock acts of the 1990s, but making their blast of frantic energy work in the studio was sometimes a challenge if you were going for anything more than sheer gutbucket stomp. On Orange and Acme, JSBX used strings, hip-hop beats, and various production niceties to add texture to the two-guitar-and-drums onslaught, but with Now I Got Worry, they moved forward into the past with the fiercest and most elemental set they'd released since Crypt Style. Now I Got Worry kicks off with Spencer screaming his head off while Russell Simins lays down a funky, muscular backbeat, and that sets the tone for what follows; the album plays at full-blast from beginning to end, even when the tempo shifts and the band eases back a bit in the name of dynamics. The blast-furnace tone is consistent, but the approach jumps from cut to cut, as JSBX tackle proto-hardcore on "Identify," shift into country-blues mode on "Rocketship," party with Rufus Thomas on "Chicken Dog," lay into a punishingly funky groove on "R.L. Got Soul," and wander through a pool of drug-addled dub on "Fuck Shit Up." But, ultimately, extremity is the point on Now I Got Worry, and even when it seems relatively gentle, it's never subtle; the production (mostly by Jim Waters) isn't afraid to push the music into the red zone, and Spencer's fearsome vocal wail, the attack of Spencer and Judah Bauer's guitars, and Simins' relentless drumming connect with the force of a fist into the solar plexus. Now I Got Worry may not be JSBX's best album, but it does capture their taut, blazing, live sound and their eccentric studio approach with a better balance than anything else in their catalog; if you want to get slapped upside the head while you boogie all night long, this is the album for you.
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming