Jeffrey Philip Nelson’s “Badder Times”

“I want so badly for Badder Times to be the progressive folk masterpiece it flirts with becoming so often.” -EB

Guest Writer
JefferyPhillipNelsonBadderTimes

6.2
out of 10

Jeffrey Philip Nelson
Badder Times
February 1, 2011
Unsigned

I want to give Jeffrey Philip Nelson’s sophomore effort a better grade. Not that this grade is bad or anything; I just think that Nelson is on the verge of creating a truly brilliant album, and I want so badly for Badder Times to be the progressive folk masterpiece it flirts with becoming so often. But ultimately, while Nelson has all of the raw talent he needs to make this happen, his execution leaves something to be desired. The album’s lyrics are often clunky and leaden, and Badder Times has an unfortunate habit of abruptly changing tone at the worst moments.

“Sweet Kelli” is probably the best example of both the album’s flaws and its potential. Musically, it’s an absolute gem. Nelson’s downbeat acoustic guitars are juxtaposed with a softly pulsating electronic drumbeat, creating a soft, beautiful, and almost melancholy tone. But the lyrics are just sort of…there. It’s a straightforward love song that lacks the requisite amount of emotion, subtlety, or metaphor. For as much time as Nelson spends crafting emotionally intimate lyrics, he could certainly stand to put a bit more artistry into his lyrics.

And then, after the downbeat, semi-electronic “Kelli’s Song,” the album shifts into two far more upbeat numbers reminiscent of Johnny Cash’s 1950s proto-rock. The songs are good, but there’s little there to ease the transition from sweet and mellow to fast and loud. The result is jarring and disrupting to the album’s flow. Ultimately, Nelson has all the talent he needs to create a fantastic record. He just needs to hire a better editor first.

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