Tommy Keene You Hear Me: A Retrospective 1983-2009

Tommy Keene You Hear Me: A Retrospective 1983-2009
There's always some hesitation when it comes to reappraising an artist whose most active years came in the '80s. Let's be honest: no matter who we're talking about, the records almost unanimously sounded terrible. Yet a great song could always triumph, and that, essentially, is the Tommy Keene story. His best-known album, 1986's Geffen-released Music From The Film, was an inspiration for all successful American power pop alchemists, from Paul Westerberg to Jeff Tweedy. It also came out when artists of Keene's ilk actually had a brief window in order to reach mainstream ears. When that window closed, he continued to record for such labels as Matador, spinART and Eleven Thirty, and most recently teamed with Robert Pollard as the Keene Brothers. You Hear Me presents most of the highlights of this impressive body of work on two discs, and the best news is that the bloated production values of the '80s material have been toned down enough to allow Keene's melodic gifts to shine as they were meant to all along. The bad news is that the package's liner notes are frustratingly inept, offering little concrete information for the newcomer. Still, You Hear Me is an important testimonial to an artist who actually mattered during a time when precious few other American pop acts did. (Second Motion)