A catchy pop collection
Reviewed April 2009
Going My Way
By Randy Weeks
Certifiable Records: 2009
To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends viewing its Amazon.com entry.
Randy Weeks is the kind of pop singer/songwriter who is challenging to categorize. Starting out in country and roots music, his sound is a mix of genres that jumps from jazz to classic rock to country and back all the way to atmospheric blues. He has placed several tunes on movie soundtracks and garnered considerable notice while calling L.A. home, releasing three solo discs before moving in 2006 to Austin. He is back with another eclectic collection of songs, "Going My Way."
Weeks has a sound that takes a few listens to fully appreciate. His vocals are given an air of goofy nonchalance that derives from his lyrics and a voice that sounds like a hipster imitation of Willie Nelson. The songs are for the most part extremely catchy and well-crafted, with some of the cockeyed metaphors that used to populate the songs of Ric Ocasek of the long-defunct Cars and some of the dark characters that Lou Reed writes about.
The opener, "I Couldn't Make It," uses the basic beat, structure and instrumentation of the Cars' "You Might Think" (with added flourishes of steel guitar, but a lead solo ripped right off the Cars single), along with such lyrics as "Cherry bombs, car alarms, oh baby you know you're gonna miss me." The title cut is considerably better, a memorable four minutes of pop that uses an infectious melody to weave an entertaining story of the romantic travels of Weeks. This tune is one of the best on the disc in using the backing band, with a definite Austin country groove dominating. "That's What I'd Do" follows, a light, jazzy tune that would not sound out of place on a Michael Franks disc.
"Summer of Love" is a jumble of images set to minor chords reminiscent of Reed, but pulled out with a memorable chorus and a psychedelic feel. "Little Bit of Sleep" rocks harder than any of the disc's other cuts, and the blues/funk of "I Think You Think" shows Weeks' ability as a wordsmith to good effect. This is a tune that is likely to be covered by other artists.
Nine cuts in, with only one song with a real country feel, Weeks plays country artist on two in a row, "Hard to Believe" and "The One Who Wore My Ring." These aren't bad, but aren't up to the level of the closer, "Get Me to the Shelter," the longest and perhaps most memorable tune on the disc. This ballad has a country feel as well, but also has a keyboard-dominated Southern rock approach, alternating between haunting, quiet verses and a catchy chorus with Hammond organ leading the way.
Weeks is all over the map, but his music has hooks. There are several tunes that will stay in the listener's head for days, and for a pop song, that is the idea. "Going My Way" delivers the goods.
Review by Frank Kocher, a longtime San Diego resident, musician, music collector and frequent contributor to The San Diego Troubadour.