Last year I reviewed Plaskett‘s odds-n-ends collection Emergencys and said you’d like him if you were ever moved by Paul McCartney, Paul Westerberg, or Tom Petty. Scrappy Happiness (released as one single per week this past winter) casts that net wider in all directions, into Lou Reed, Jackson Browne, and Jon Snodgrass waters. I knew as this album was coming out in January/February that it would stay in the top-10 all year.
“Lightning Bolt,” the Street Hassle-esque album-opener is the song of the year so far and it features this, my favorite verse:
Travel through space and time
I’d like a vodka lime
A twist of the sublime
One small immortal coil
It kicks off an album of brilliant songwriting and guitar playing. Scrappy Happiness is forty minutes of serious fun. The lyrical twists, the assembly of unique guitar solos and hooks–they all speak to Plaskett’s high standards for himself and his ridiculous chops. The man found a rhyme with “oranges” and “gorgeous.” He never lets himself repeat, and if he sees he’s turning a familiar corner, he’ll just flip the car instead. He’s thirty-seven years old, he’s a textbook. Many writers run out of surprises after a few years. Not only is Plaskett still as fresh as his 20-year-old punk rocking self, but he’s made his most infectious and Essential Listeningicious album yet.
by Mike Ostrov