Too Many Movies

Michael Shelley

Big Deal Records, 1998

REVIEW BY: George Agnos

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/12/1999

Michael Shelley is a New York singer/songwriter who writes witty melodic ditties that offer keen observations about the world around him. His latest CD, Too Many Movies, further hones those observations into occasionally brillant songs. While this is one nice collection of songs, he still has a little ways to go in producing a completely satisfying work.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The opening song is a gem: "Baby's In A Bad Mood" is about a husband who tries to deal with his working wife coming home with a sour disposition. Every man who has been in this situation will relate to this song and nod at its realism.

Shelley continues on a roll with the tongue and cheek title tune. This is a tale about a couple comparing their relationship with what they have seen in the movies. "The Pill" follows and it is a funny take on a teenage girl's coming of age. Too Many Movies certainly starts off with quite a one-two-three punch.

Other highlights are "Summer, I Pissed You Away", a song about a man who is ashamed to say he did nothing during the summer. This song includes a nice mock-serious string arrangement by bassist George Rush. "Jigsaw Girl" is a good example of Shelley's gift for irreverent detail. "She Not You" is a nice list song that shows that he listens to Cole Porter tunes.

The problem with Too Many Movies is I get the feeling that Shelley is underachieving. Much of the rest of the CD is filler. Granted, some of it is enjoyable filler like a song about dental hygiene called "That's Where The Plaque Is", or the surf music sendup, "Surfer Joan". I even like "Sluggo", an instrumental that includes an organ, clarinet, and toy piano, making for an interesting sound.

But too many of the songs go in and out without much notice. "You Were Made To Break My Heart" and "The Girl With The Light In Her Eyes" are just short and forgettable. And one song, "Sweet Little One", which I think is meant to be more meaningful, is just not very interesting.

Too Many Movies is definitely an easy listen. The melodies and instrumentation are pleasant, perfect for some laid-back summer music listening. The songs themselves are a bit hit and miss, but even the worst ones give the listener a pleasant diversion.

Rating: B

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© 1999 George Agnos and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Big Deal Records, and is used for informational purposes only.