BY MICHAEL TOLAND
Oklahoma-to-Austin-and-back (and forth) songwriter Thomas Anderson follows up The Moon in Transit, last year’s LP cherry-picking through his vast archives of home recordings, with another collection of four-track marvels. But On Becoming Human has a specific focus: love songs. Anderson’s romantic side usually gets short shrift on his recordings, given his usual penchant for historical analysis, rock iconography and social commentary.
Thus this record contains some of his prettiest tunes: the glistening “Anna in the Glow of Love,” the intimate “Exemption Blues,” the lovely (if lengthy) “Alias McDaniel.” Of course, for Anderson, love songs means tunes like “Songs for Walter Mondale,” “Suede Shoe Blues” and the epic “The Love Song of J. Edgar Hoover,” plus a synth-driven instrumental called “Nimbus 5” – just in case anyone thinks his edge might be blunted. Ultimately this feels less like a concept record than a typical Thomas Anderson record with the balance tipped toward one side of his aesthetic, but only just. And that’s a perfectly good – no, make that great – thing.
DOWNLOAD: “Alias McDaniel,” “Anna in the Glow of Love,” “The Love Song of J. Edgar Hoover”