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Freedy Johnston - This Perfect World

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This Perfect World

Freedy Johnston

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Freedy Johnston's major-label debut is less consistently stunning than its predecessor, 1992's Can You Fly but, taken on its own terms, it affirms his position as one of the best songwriters of his generation. Certainly no one paints more evocative portraits of lonely, disappointed people. The majority of these 12 tracks are about men who either know or strongly suspect that they've done something unforgivable, and such is Johnston's mastery as a lyricist that it's even subtly apparent when his narrators are lying to themselves. Johnston frames his bleak narratives with melodic, chiming folk-rock; if anything, the predominantly mid-tempo songs and radio-ready Butch Vig production are a little too smooth, robbing This Perfect World of the edge that made Can You Fly so piercing. The most memorable tracks are the sparsest ones, where Johnston's words and appealingly plain voice take center stage. In addition to the melancholy opener, "Bad Reputation," other highlights include "Can't Shake This Town" and the witty "Dolores" -- few songwriters could pack so many Lolita allusions into three minutes of guitar pop without sounding too clever by half. Best of all is the mournful, eerie title track, which describes the possibly mortal sins of one man's past and the hopelessness of his future with the economy and punch of a good short story.
© Kristi Coulter /TiVo

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This Perfect World

Freedy Johnston

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1
Bad Reputation LP Version
00:04:08

Larry Fast, Editor - Butch Vig, Producer, Mixer, Drums, Percussion - Howie Weinberg, Masterer - WARREN RIKER, Additional Engineer - JOHN SIKET, Recorder - DOUG ERIKSON, Mixer - Dave Schramm, Guitar - John Yates, Additional Engineer, Bass Guitar - Ron London, Additional Engineer - Freedy Johnston, Composer, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Chris Bailey, Production

1994 Elektra Entertainment, a Division of Warner Communications Inc. for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States. 1994 Elektra Entertainment, a division of Warner Communications Inc. for the United Sates and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

2
Evie's Tears LP Version
00:03:01

Larry Fast, Editor - Butch Vig, Producer, Mixer - Marshall Crenshaw, Guitar - Howie Weinberg, Masterer - Marc Ribot, Guitar - WARREN RIKER, Additional Engineer - JOHN SIKET, Recorder - Graham Maby, Bass Guitar - DOUG ERIKSON, Mixer, Piano - John Yates, Additional Engineer - Ron London, Additional Engineer - Freedy Johnston, Composer, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Chris Bailey, Production - Frank Vilardi, Drums

1994 Elektra Entertainment, a Division of Warner Communications Inc. for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States. 1994 Elektra Entertainment, a division of Warner Communications Inc. for the United Sates and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

3
Can't Sink This Town LP Version
00:03:51

Larry Fast, Editor - Butch Vig, Producer, Mixer - Howie Weinberg, Masterer - WARREN RIKER, Additional Engineer - JOHN SIKET, Recorder - DOUG ERIKSON, Mixer - Dave Schramm, Bass Guitar - John Yates, Additional Engineer - Ron London, Additional Engineer - Mary Gaines, Backing Vocals - Freedy Johnston, Composer, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Chris Bailey, Production

1994 Elektra Entertainment, a Division of Warner Communications Inc. for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States. 1994 Elektra Entertainment, a division of Warner Communications Inc. for the United Sates and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

4
This Perfect World LP Version
00:04:34

Jane Scarpantoni, Cello - Larry Fast, Editor - Butch Vig, Producer, Mixer - Howie Weinberg, Masterer - Marc Ribot, Guitar - WARREN RIKER, Additional Engineer - JOHN SIKET, Recorder - Graham Maby, Bass Guitar - DOUG ERIKSON, Mixer - John Yates, Additional Engineer - Ron London, Additional Engineer - Freedy Johnston, Composer, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Chris Bailey, Production - Frank Vilardi, Drums

1994 Elektra Entertainment, a Division of Warner Communications Inc. for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States. 1994 Elektra Entertainment, a division of Warner Communications Inc. for the United Sates and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

5
Cold Again LP Version
00:02:37

Larry Fast, Editor - Butch Vig, Producer, Mixer - Howie Weinberg, Masterer - Marc Ribot, Guitar - WARREN RIKER, Additional Engineer - JOHN SIKET, Recorder - Graham Maby, Bass Guitar - DOUG ERIKSON, Mixer - John Yates, Additional Engineer - Ron London, Additional Engineer - Mary Gaines, Backing Vocals - Freedy Johnston, Composer, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Chris Bailey, Production - Frank Vilardi, Drums

1994 Elektra Entertainment, a Division of Warner Communications Inc. for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States. 1994 Elektra Entertainment, a division of Warner Communications Inc. for the United Sates and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

6
Two Lovers Stop LP Version
00:02:44

Larry Fast, Editor - Butch Vig, Producer, Mixer - Howie Weinberg, Masterer - WARREN RIKER, Additional Engineer - JOHN SIKET, Recorder - Graham Maby, Bass Guitar - DOUG ERIKSON, Mixer - Dave Schramm, Guitar - John Yates, Additional Engineer - Ron London, Additional Engineer - Freedy Johnston, Composer, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Chris Bailey, Production

1994 Elektra Entertainment, a Division of Warner Communications Inc. for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States. 1994 Elektra Entertainment, a division of Warner Communications Inc. for the United Sates and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

7
Across the Avenue LP Version
00:03:29

Larry Fast, Editor - Kevin Salem, Guitar - Butch Vig, Producer, Mixer - Howie Weinberg, Masterer - Marc Ribot, Guitar - WARREN RIKER, Additional Engineer - JOHN SIKET, Recorder - Graham Maby, Bass Guitar - DOUG ERIKSON, Mixer - John Yates, Additional Engineer - Ron London, Additional Engineer - Freedy Johnston, Composer, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Chris Bailey, Production - Frank Vilardi, Drums

1994 Elektra Entertainment, a Division of Warner Communications Inc. for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States. 1994 Elektra Entertainment, a division of Warner Communications Inc. for the United Sates and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

8
Gone Like the Water LP Version
00:02:42

Larry Fast, Editor - Butch Vig, Producer, Mixer - Howie Weinberg, Masterer - WARREN RIKER, Additional Engineer - JOHN SIKET, Recorder - Graham Maby, Bass Guitar - Mark Spencer, Guitar - DOUG ERIKSON, Mixer - John Yates, Additional Engineer - Ron London, Additional Engineer - Freedy Johnston, Composer, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Chris Bailey, Production - Frank Vilardi, Drums

1994 Elektra Entertainment, a Division of Warner Communications Inc. for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States. 1994 Elektra Entertainment, a division of Warner Communications Inc. for the United Sates and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

9
Dolores LP Version
00:03:41

Larry Fast, Editor - Kevin Salem, Guitar - Butch Vig, Producer, Mixer - Howie Weinberg, Masterer - WARREN RIKER, Additional Engineer - JOHN SIKET, Recorder - Frank Vicari, Drums - Graham Maby, Bass Guitar - DOUG ERIKSON, Mixer - Dave Schramm, Guitar - John Yates, Additional Engineer - Ron London, Additional Engineer - Freedy Johnston, Composer, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Chris Bailey, Production

1994 Elektra Entertainment, a Division of Warner Communications Inc. for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States. 1994 Elektra Entertainment, a division of Warner Communications Inc. for the United Sates and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

10
Evie's Garden LP Version
00:02:54

Jane Scarpantoni, Cello - Larry Fast, Editor - Butch Vig, Producer, Mixer - Howie Weinberg, Masterer - WARREN RIKER, Additional Engineer - JOHN SIKET, Recorder - Graham Maby, Bass Guitar - DOUG ERIKSON, Mixer - Dave Schramm, Guitar - John Yates, Additional Engineer - Ron London, Additional Engineer - Freedy Johnston, Composer, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Chris Bailey, Production - Frank Vilardi, Drums

1994 Elektra Entertainment, a Division of Warner Communications Inc. for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States. 1994 Elektra Entertainment, a division of Warner Communications Inc. for the United Sates and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

11
Disappointed Man LP Version
00:03:15

Larry Fast, Editor - Kevin Salem, Guitar - Butch Vig, Producer, Mixer - Howie Weinberg, Masterer - WARREN RIKER, Additional Engineer - JOHN SIKET, Recorder - DOUG ERIKSON, Mixer - Dave Schramm, Baroque Guitar - John Yates, Additional Engineer - Ron London, Additional Engineer - Freedy Johnston, Composer, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Chris Bailey, Production - Frank Vilardi, Drums

1994 Elektra Entertainment, a Division of Warner Communications Inc. for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States. 1994 Elektra Entertainment, a division of Warner Communications Inc. for the United Sates and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

12
I Can Hear the Laughs LP Version
00:03:10

Larry Fast, Editor - Butch Vig, Producer, Mixer, Drums, Percussion - Howie Weinberg, Masterer - WARREN RIKER, Additional Engineer - JOHN SIKET, Recorder - Graham Maby, Bass Guitar - Mark Spencer, Guitar - DOUG ERIKSON, Mixer - John Yates, Additional Engineer - Ron London, Additional Engineer - Freedy Johnston, Composer, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Chris Bailey, Production

1994 Elektra Entertainment, a Division of Warner Communications Inc. for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States. 1994 Elektra Entertainment, a division of Warner Communications Inc. for the United Sates and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

Album Description

Freedy Johnston's major-label debut is less consistently stunning than its predecessor, 1992's Can You Fly but, taken on its own terms, it affirms his position as one of the best songwriters of his generation. Certainly no one paints more evocative portraits of lonely, disappointed people. The majority of these 12 tracks are about men who either know or strongly suspect that they've done something unforgivable, and such is Johnston's mastery as a lyricist that it's even subtly apparent when his narrators are lying to themselves. Johnston frames his bleak narratives with melodic, chiming folk-rock; if anything, the predominantly mid-tempo songs and radio-ready Butch Vig production are a little too smooth, robbing This Perfect World of the edge that made Can You Fly so piercing. The most memorable tracks are the sparsest ones, where Johnston's words and appealingly plain voice take center stage. In addition to the melancholy opener, "Bad Reputation," other highlights include "Can't Shake This Town" and the witty "Dolores" -- few songwriters could pack so many Lolita allusions into three minutes of guitar pop without sounding too clever by half. Best of all is the mournful, eerie title track, which describes the possibly mortal sins of one man's past and the hopelessness of his future with the economy and punch of a good short story.
© Kristi Coulter /TiVo

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