Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time

Satur-debut – MICHAEL PENN “MARCH”

For reasons unknown, some successful albums don’t have staying power and are sadly overlooked by radio programmers and critics in the ensuing years & decades, to be loved only by those who were there at the time. Michael Penn’s 1989 debut album, March, which reached the Top 40 and included a Top 20 single and two other singles that were Modern and Mainstream Rock hits, should have a much higher profile 30+ years later. I guess being the younger brother of actor Sean Penn and the husband of singer/songwriter Aimee Mann doesn’t have the clout it used to, but the music speaks for itself. I wrote about this should-be classic record in 2015’s Great Out Of The Gate series which you can read below.

For more information on this series, please read the opening paragraph of the first post, which featured the debut album from Led Zeppelin.




He’s not as well-known as his younger brothers, actors Sean Penn and the late Chris Penn, but Michael Penn proved himself to be an incredibly gifted singer & songwriter on his debut album, which includes the Top 20 hit “No Myth” (that nearly topped the US Modern Rock Tracks chart) as well as two other Modern Rock hits, “Brave New World” and “This & That.” I can still remember hearing the latter song for the first time in my friend’s car and immediately needing to know who this artist was. I owned the album within a few days and I’ve followed his career ever since. Producer Tony Berg and multi-instrumentalist Patrick Warren fleshed out these acoustic singer-songwriter tunes with clever arrangements, adding punch wherever it was needed (“Half Harvest”; “Evenfall”) and scaling back the arrangements for beauties like “Invisible” and “Battle Room.” Penn has continued to have a solid if sporadic recording career, and for nearly 20 years he’s been married to fellow musician Aimee Mann. This is one of my favorite albums of the late-‘80s and it still sounds fresh to me today.


So who else loved this album at the dawn of the ’90s? If you haven’t played it in a while I recommend giving it a fresh spin and it will thrill you as it did all those years ago. I also hope to hear from the Michael Penn newbies.

8 comments on “Satur-debut – MICHAEL PENN “MARCH”

  1. Aphoristical
    February 15, 2020

    I like him, but I’ve only heard his compilation, none of the individual albums.


    • Didn’t realize he had a compilation. This one and its follow-up are fantastic from start to finish.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Daddydinorawk
        February 15, 2020

        Yeah. He does. Something, Runes,Tarot, Tea something something. He and Aimee do a great version of Two of Us from the I Am Sam soundtrack to the film his brother directed.

        Go watch the video for Try from resigned. Penn should be a star but I think he’s done pretty well for himself.


      • I’ve heard their version of “Two Of Us” and it is very nice. I agree that he should be a star. Remember his appearance in Boogie Nights?


  2. Daddydinorawk
    February 15, 2020

    I like March a lot but it does not hold a candle to Free For All. Brilliant album. Resigned is really good too. In fact all his albums (5) are worth owning or at least hearing several times.

    Holy crap Battle Room is now stuck in my head. Thanks Rich!!;)


    • I feel like March and Free For All are two sides of the same coin. I love them equally. Saw him on the Free For All tour and he was, unsurprisingly, great. I love all of his subsequent albums although none of them had the same impact on me as the first two.


  3. christiansmusicmusings
    February 16, 2020

    Count me as a newbie. I’m currently listening to the album – sounds pretty pleasant.

    My reaction may come across as a bit underwhelming. This morning, I “discovered” an artist with a new album I hope I will post about later today. That one really was love at first sight – something that rarely happens!

    So with that mindset it’s perhaps tough to listen to any other music I don’t know!😀


    • Thanks for giving Michael Penn a listen. Since your mind was focused elsewhere on newly-discovered music I suggest you come back to him when your musical palate has been cleansed. I think a lot of his songs will make their way unto your brain.


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