By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Peace Queer, Todd Snider's eight-song EP released in October, basically encapsulates everything good and bad about the alt-country singer-songwriter. Well-written, -sung, -performed and -produced, the EP is also funny as hell. But like most of Snider's recorded history, it's a bit smug.
Snider has always incorporated wit and a leftist political bent into his folk/country, but about half of Peace Queer comes off as heavy-handed and predictable. Although quite capable of writing songs of intense passion, Snider sometimes hides his best sentiment under loads of smirking, frat boy humor.
Early efforts, such as Songs for a Daily Planet and Step Right Up were overly slick attempts to introduce Snider to a mass market. Luckily, that strategy failed and Snider's recent efforts, especially 2006's The Devil You Know, found him playing it (relatively) straight and writing the best songs of his career. Anyone who's heard such heartfelt nuggets as "If Tomorrow Never Comes" and "All That Matters" can testify to Snider's way with words and a good melody. When he stays away from obvious targets and clichéd pot shots, Snider can put on an invigorating performance.
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