Dont Tell Columbus
Thirty years into a storied career in rock ‘n’ roll that began with his band The Rumour (pre-saging new wave, pub rock and punk) Graham Parker finds himself at the absolute top of his game and in the midst of a extended creative hot streak. Hot on the heels of the Bloodshot releases Your Country (2004), Songs of No Consequence (2005), the seething digital-only single about Iraq—the now sadly outdated “2000 Funerals”—and the blistering live album 103 Degrees in June (2006), Don’t Tell Columbus crackles with desperation and redemption sung with rich, passionate power. And hooks. Lots and lots of effortless hooks. Yes, the new millennium has thus far been very good to GP and music fans reap the rewards.
Suffused with the heft of the epic, Don’t Tell Columbus’s lyrical and emotional resonance straddles the Atlantic and evinces GP’s stature as one of the most gifted writers in rock ‘n’ roll. From the personal and metaphorically grand “The Other Side of the Reservoir” to the overtly political and swinging “Stick to the Plan,” this album ripples with tension between the melancholic, the urgent and the hopeful. Best of all, it’s wrapped in his gifted brawny pop and blue-eyed soul smarts. Only GP can have you happily humming along to songs swaddled in desperate loneliness and internal mayhem.
It is unhealthy, perhaps even obscene, that someone should be able to come up with an album this good this far into their career.