John Prine

Storm Windows

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Released in 1980 by Asylum, Storm Windows would be John Prine's last attempt to record on a major label. One reviewer referred to the album as Prine's "best-sounding record," but one could argue that the production removes a great deal of the singer/songwriter's rough charm. While earlier albums like Diamonds in the Rough (1972) had seemed almost non-produced, Bruised Orange (1978) found the perfect balance between gruff and professional. Storm Windows isn't a bad album, but the songs and "studio musician" production lack the bite of Bruised Orange. The five-minute title track digs deepest, with Prine offering lovely lines like "And down the beach the sandman sleeps/Time don't fly it bounds and leaps." One has to wonder, however, if lyrics like "The spirits were high, til' the well went dry" are autobiographical. Both "Storm Windows" and "Sleepy Eyed Boy" hint at disillusionment, as though an older Prine is looking back at his younger self. In this way, Storm Windows seems more confessional than early efforts like Sweet Revenge (1973). Other catchy pieces like "Shop Talk" and "Just Wanna Be With You" rock harder, but they're more or less throwaways. While Storm Windows captures Prine on autopilot, fans will enjoy listening to his reflections at this transitional stage.

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