EP Review: Marshall Crenshaw — Driving and Dreaming

By now, most have either been hipped to the songwriting genius of Marshall Crenshaw, or they haven’t and sadly probably never will. With Crenshaw’s releases stretching all the way back to the early 1980s, you’re guaranteed heartfelt songwriting, ear-candy melodies and crystalline, no-bullshit production values. All that’s in evidence on this, the third in his ongoing series of EP releases.

This three-song EP follows the format laid out for the series: a new song (in this case, the catchy, midtempo title track) backed with a pair of tunes, one a cover (Bobby Fuller‘s “Never to be Forgotten” and a re-imagining of a tune from Crenshaw’s deep catalog. Ever the archivist, Crenshaw makes the Fuller tune his own, emphasizing the quick-riffage of the song’s signature and adding some lovely double-tracked vocal lines. He plays and sings everything on this and the other two tracks.

The loose-limbed rethink of “Someday, Someway,” his most well-known tune is, to say the least, not reverent. It’s his song, so he’s well within his rights to recast it in the manner he sees fit, but this version is dodgy. The beat is completely rethought, and the feel is totally different. He definitely scores points for having the moxie to attempt such a rethink, but in practical terms, this listener prefers to stick with the 1980 original.

Still, as Meat Loaf sang, two out of three ain’t bad. And any Crenshaw is better than none at all, so my advice is to pick this up if only so he’s encouraged to keep the flow of new recordings coming.

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