Rolling Stone - 8/10/95, p.60
"...Newman's drawling, bluesy vocals cut against the lush conventionality of the settings like a squirt of lemon juice in milk....One of the most deliciously unsettling albums ever made."
Q - 4/00, p.1124 stars out of 5
- "...Cynical, ironic and venomous, it sets the stage for 30 years of nasty songs..."
Mojo (Publisher) - 7/95, p.113
"...Everything that's great about Randy Newman can be found [here]...the benign condescension towards Middle America ('The Beehive State'), the effortlessly modulated melancholy ('Living Without You')...and the elaborate orchestrations betraying the influence of his movie-scoring uncles..."
NME (Magazine) - 2/14/00, p.427 out of 10
- "...an oddball hybrid of burlesque show tunes and sardonic singer-songwriting....makes for edifying listening..."
Personnel includes: Randy Newman (vocals, piano); Anthony Terran (trumpet); Herb Ellis, Jim Horn, Plas Johnson, Larry Knechtel, Carol Kaye, Al Casey, Milton Bernhardt.
Includes original release liner notes by Stan Cornyn.
Personnel: Randy Newman (vocals, piano).
Originally titled RANDY NEWMAN CREATES SOMETHING NEW UNDER THE SUN and released with a hopelessly unhip album cover, Randy Newman's heavily-orchestrated debut album has more in common with Van Dyke Parks's SONG CYCLE or Harpers Bizarre's ANYTHING GOES than the stripped-down sound of Newman's better-known '70s albums. (Uncoincidentally, both the latter were also produced by Newman's childhood friend Lenny Waronker; Newman was involved in both songwriting and arrangement.)
The album is best known for early examples of Newman's satiric gifts such as "Davy the Fat Boy," the middle-America-mocking "The Beehive State," and "So Long, Dad." But more serious and emotional songs like "Bet No One Ever Hurt This Bad" and the majestic "I Think It's Gonna Rain Today" (impressively covered by the likes of Judy Collins and Dusty Springfield) reveal a deeper side to Newman's songwriting that's sometimes overshadowed by the more overtly funny songs.