John Prine

Sweet Revenge

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Prine's third album is louder and more jaded than his first efforts, a set of rowdy country-rockers that tear along at a reckless speed. Sympathy takes a back seat to cynicism here, and while that strips the record of some depth, Prine's irreverence is consistently thrilling, making this one of his best. It's not as uniformly brilliant as the debut, but it did steer his music in a new direction -- where that record is often hallmarked for its rich sensitivity, Sweet Revenge established cynicism as Prine's dominant voice once and for all. Although he could still crank out a great ballad when he felt like it, from now on his records largely followed a more conventional rock & roll muse, a choice that eventually gained him more mainstream attention. "Please Don't Bury Me," "Christmas in Prison," "Blue Umbrella," and "A Good Time" are a few of the jewels on this one.

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