Randy Newman: Dark Matter review – classy song satirist still bites

(Nonesuch)

Randy Newman decided to omit the song he wrote about Donald Trump’s penis from Dark Matter (drolly explaining “the subject is too sore to get into”), but otherwise the veteran American songwriter-satirist is still putting the boot in where it hurts. Putin (“He can drive his giant tank across a Trans-Siberian plain / He can power a nuclear reactor with the left side of his brain”) is drily rendered as Russian orchestral folk. Eight-minute opener The Great Debate comically pits science against gospel-singing creationists and climate change deniers. And so wonderfully on. The music has some of the symphonic hallmarks of his soundtracks to films such as Toy Story, and careers from trademark piano to opera.

He remains the master of creating ribald, flawed characters, but also the powerful, poignant weepie. Lost With You’s riff on ageing and Wandering Boy’s tale of an anguished father pining for a missing son ensure that there isn’t a dry eye in the house.

Contributor

Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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