Warren Zevon Life'll Kill Ya

As with any artist more respected for their clever songwriting than their vocal range or pop success, Warren Zevon's recording output has seen a few ups and downs, often clashing on inconsistent albums. That's why Life'll Kill Ya sounds like a classic comeback record, in which Zevon chucks the El Lay overproduction that suffocated most of his work from the past 15 years, focuses on his acerbic storytelling and comes up with a winner. Zevon's beautiful losers wrap themselves inside heartbreaking, vintage melodies that should be inspiring P.T. Anderson to make better movies. There's a dark comedy waiting to be made out of Zevon's tale of a failed magician with the chorus: "I can make love disappear/For my next trick I'll need a volunteer." Tracks like "Fistful of Rain" and "I Was In The House When The House Burned Down" prop up Life'll Kill Ya as Zevon's most gripping album in recent memory, which - to quote his surprisingly good cover of a previously awful Steve Winwood song - puts him "back in the high life again." (Artemis)