Marshall Crenshaw: Marshall Crenshaw


April 28, 1982 – Marshall Crenshaw: Marshall Crenshaw is released.
# allmusic 5/5
# Rolling Stone (see original review)
Marshall Crenshaw is the debut album by Marshall Crenshaw, released on this date in April, 1982. It featured his breakthrough classic hit, “Someday, Someway”, which reached #36 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in the summer of 1982, as well as #31 on the Cash Box singles chart. The album spent over six months on the chart, peaking at #50, and eventually sold close to 400,000 copies in the United States.
This debut was a great breath of fresh air when it appeared in 1982. Full of pop smarts, it drew on the chimey pop melodicism of the ’60s without sounding the slightest bit “retro.” Crenshaw came to public attention in the cast of Beatlemania in the late seventies (playing the part of John Lennon), a circumstance born of his long-standing love of the Fab Four.
Millions cut their teeth on British Invasion bands, but for Crenshaw, the lessons became part of his musical foundation–which is why it doesn’t sound like he’s aping his idols. Crenshaw is a music fan who developed into a first class songwriter. The flawlessly tight band runs through these dozen songs–churning out a hit parade of their own device. Catchy and infectiously hook-filled, this album can make friends with anybody. Start with this one, then move onto his next, and his next, and his next…
Marshall Crenshaw’s rock & roll has the kind of crafty simplicity that has to be called classic. Like the Everly Brothers and the early Beatles, he works within a relatively small territory and gains the whole world he’s after – that is, the complete attention of anyone who believes that rock & roll can perform magic on himself or herself.
What is that territory? In Crenshaw’s case, it’s a three-piece band of bass, drums and his own guitar. Except for the rare exception – a touch of glockenspiel or maracas, for example – that proves his rule, those are his limits. He includes handclaps, of course, as well as backing vocals and the kinds of moans and sha-la-las and vocal quavers that not many people since Buddy Holly have had the innocent gutsiness to depend on.
There’s another thing about his chosen territory: it’s about affairs of the heart. Not cars, clothes or cheeseburgers, not the government, not even mom and dad. It can embrace rock itself as a kind of backdrop (“Rockin’ Around in N.Y.C.”), and it can even celebrate – unsuccessfully, in this case – “Girls” in the abstract. But mostly it’s about a guy, a James Dean-type character who’s at once humble and headstrong about his choices in life:
I want to take you with me
I’ll do most anything that you want to
When we go out together, we must run wild but first I’m warning you:
I never bother with the usual thing
Don’t wanna know about the usual thing….
Perhaps from touring as John Lennon in Beatlemania, Crenshaw’s got a voice full of delicate head tones with a hint of that high, lonesome sound. Divorced from his deft singing, the words might seem too self-conscious. But he doubles the vocals in all the right places, using just enough slapback, and it comes out sounding as pure as God’s own cherubim come down to earth to play a high-school dance.
No, this isn’t Fifties-revival music, Robert Gordon’s cover of Crenshaw’s “Someday, Someway” notwithstanding. Crenshaw’s longed-for “Cynical Girl” is an Eighties creature. But she’ll have to hate TV (“There’s gotta be somebody other than me/ Who’s ready to write it off immediately”), and the ringing, relentless chord pattern he ever-so-melodically uses to yank you through the song makes it clear the guy means business.
There’s no point in flogging Crenshaw into the next big thing. But if rock & roll is one of your ongoing joys and redemptions, he’s probably the next necessary thing. (RS 369)
~ FRED SCHRUERS (May 13, 1982)
“There She Goes Again” – 2:39
“Someday, Someway” – 2:53
“Girls” – 3:04
“I’ll Do Anything” – 3:03
“Rockin’ Around in N.Y.C. ” – 3:10
“The Usual Thing” – 3:06
“She Can’t Dance” – 2:47
“Cynical Girl” – 2:37
“Mary Anne” – 2:57
“Soldier of Love (Lay Down Your Arms)” – 2:39
“Not for Me” – 2:38
“Brand New Lover” – 2:39
A remastered, reissued version on Rhino/Warner Archives features bonus tracks, which include demos and live tracks.
“There She Goes Again”
“Someday, Someway”
“I’ll Do Anything”
“Rockin’ Around In N.Y.C.”
“The Usual Thing”
“She Can’t Dance”
“Cynical Girl”
“Mary Anne”
“Soldier Of Love”
“Not For Me”
“Brand New Lover”
“Starlit Summer Sky” (Demo, 1979)
“Whenever You’re On My MInd” (Demo, 1979)
“You’re My Favorite Waste Of Time” – Marshall Crenshaw & The Handsome, Ruthless And Stupid Band
“Somebody Like You”
“Rave On (Live, 1982)
“The Usual Thing” (Live, 1982)
“Stop Her On Sight (S.O.S.)” (Live, 1982)
“Look At What I Almost Missed” (Live, 1982)
“I’ve Been Good To You” (Live, 1981)

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