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Pop/Rock - Released March 4, 1997 | Work

Everyone knows that hype kills, and being touted as the next anything, especially "the next Bob Dylan," is usually, for the most part, the kiss of death. So for those of you turned off by such things, we'll skip those kinds of superlatives, because this record should not be missed. In a genre that on the surface seems to be progressing, but in reality is becoming staler every year, Dan Bern's take on folk music is refreshing to say the least. Bern doesn't treat the music with kid gloves, nor does he try to beautify or jazz it up. He simply attacks the music, much in the way Dylan did, from the solo acoustic "Jerusalem," to the punkish "Go to Sleep" or the spoken melody of "Estelle," which hearkens back to Dylan's own "Brownsville Girl." Lyrically, whether proclaiming himself the Messiah or merely the "king of the world," Bern's acerbic wit and surprising poignancy will pull you back time and time again. So don't listen to those anointing him with phrases like "the next Dylan" or "the best singer/songwriter in years"; just listen to Dan Bern's debut and see for yourself. © Brett Hartenbach /TiVo