Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time
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.
From GREAT OUT OF THE GATE Part 4:
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.