Don't Be A Stranger
Considering what Mark Eitzel has been through in the past couple of years, it's remarkable that Don't Be a Stranger isn't bleaker. Back in May of last year, Eitzel had a serious heart attack, which took him out of circulation for six months, plus the revived American Music Club also came to an end, leading to the resurrection of his on-again-off-again solo career. This latest collection of songs is surprisingly low-key despite some lush arrangements and his trademark droll lyrics adding some meat to the bones of the songs. But the line between self-deprecation and self-pity is blurrier than usual and while that is understandable, there are times when the songs desperately need more lyrical bite. Don't Be A Stranger is an important album, but more so for Eitzel than the listener. There are enough great moments, such as "Why Are You With Me" and "All My Love," to make this his strongest solo record in quite a while, but it is still far from his best work. It is a step in the right direction on the road to recovery though.
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