Rolling Stone - p.1244 stars out of 5
- "[A] sweeter, more confident effort....Sophisticated pop that frames Scialfa as a jaunty, East Coast version of Rickie Lee Jones or Bonnie Raitt."
Rolling Stone - p.151
Included in Rolling Stone's Top 50 Records Of 2004 - "Scialfa connects to her past with well-wrought, down-to-earth tunes."
Entertainment Weekly - p.85
"[T]here's an inviting, appealing earnestness to Scialfa's bruised-soul folk rock." - Grade: B+
Q - p.1223 stars out of 5
- "Like a quieter, more thoughtful Sheryl Crow, Scialfa is a daughter of the city and her charms reveal themselves slowly."
Ignoring the fact that Patti Scialfa is married to Bruce Springsteen, it's easy to hear the musical cache she brings to the table, particularly within the confines of 23RD STREET LULLABY, her second album in over a decade. Scialfa uses her days spent as a struggling New York City musician in the late 1970s and early '80s for inspiration, and rang up a few buddies from back in that time of her life. Among the best-known names who contributed to these sessions are co-producer Steve Jordan, James Taylor sideman Clifford Carter, and fiddler/vocalist Soozie Tyrell, who is also a member of Springsteen's touring band.
The result is a batch of loosely autobiographical tales that hearkens back to that era's class of gritty urban singer-songwriters, including Graham Parker, Garland Jeffreys, and Lou Reed. Reminiscing about her days in the Chelsea section of Manhattan (see the atmospheric title cut), Scialfa writes about bad seeds (a twangy "City Boys"), fun-seeking waitresses (the doo-wop harmony-laden "Rose"), and grease monkeys (a wistful "Chelsea Avenue"). Sure, the characters that populate these songs are similar to those created by her husband (who unobtrusively contributes guitar and keyboards), but what do you expect from a native Jersey girl?