Review: Todd Snider’s New Album ‘Crank It, We’re Doomed’
UPDATED: November 13, 2023
UPDATED: November 13, 2023

Todd Snider Adds To His Massive Discography With 16 Year Old Songs

Renowned troubadour Todd Snider has recently had a change of heart and released Crank it, We’re Doomed, a musical gem recorded 16 years ago but only now seeing the light of day. With over 30 years of music-making under his belt, Snider stands as an authentic and tragically underrated storyteller. He is famously known for his thought-provoking lyrics and skill in crafting timeless, uniquely Snider, protest songs. The new, but “old”, album lets us peak into the master’s mind midway through his musical journey.

The backstory of this album adds a layer of intrigue. Originally recorded in 2007, Snider made the artistic decision to shelve it, stating it didn’t make sense thematically. However, after rediscovering the presumed-lost masters recordings, he had a change of heart. The album, released on 11/10/2023, features 15 songs spanning 48 minutes.

What sets this album apart is the fact that a significant portion of the work had been reworked, rearranged, or renamed and had already appeared on previous albums. Some of Snider’s greatest hits, like Handleman’s Revenge (Stuck On The Corner) and  America’s Favorite Pastime, originated here.  Americas Favorite Pastime is a well-known fan favorite, detailing Doc Ellis pitching a no-hitter high on LSD.  The classic tune Is This Thing Working appears in its original format titled War On Terror. The song describes the endless battle between the protagonist and his bully.

Kris Kristofferson, Loretta Lynn, And Jimmy Buffett

Only four out of the 15 tracks are entirely new, lending the album a unique quality that almost feels like a greatest hits collection. It provides fans with a glimpse into the earlier versions of Snider’s classics, presented in a stripped-down manner akin to demo tapes. It truly adds a depth and insight for the super-fans already aware of Snider’s previous work. For those newcomers unfamiliar with Snider’s lyrical prowess, Crank it, We’re Doomed doesn’t disappoint. The album tackles familiar Snider themes of greed, lust, envy, and drug use, showcasing his mastery in piecing together lyrics like puzzles.

The album includes some fresh surprises and historical guest appearances, including a timely cover of Jimmy Buffett’s West Nashville’s Ballroom Gown and Kris Kristofferson lending his voice to the final verse of Good Fortune. Don’t Tempt Me is a duet with the legendary late Loretta Lynn, adding a flirtatious and lighthearted touch. What Made You Do It is a note to Snider’s mentor, the late great Billy Joe Shaver, questioning the events of Shaver shooting a man in Waco, TX.

Despite having heard much of the album’s content in various forms before, Mercer’s Folley stands out as a favorite. The infectious fiddle melody, in its adolescent form, captures the essence of Snider’s early genius. The song was later bastardized and split into different songs. The words becoming one, and the melody lending itself to another.

Final Thoughts

Crank it, We’re Doomed breathes new life into old tunes, offering a fresh perspective at a time when we need it most.

In essence, “Crank it, We’re Doomed” doesn’t necessarily offer anything groundbreaking or new, but that’s forgiven considering its set on a shelf for 16 years…. It’s more aptly viewed as a greatest hits collection with some unreleased bonus features. The album is a classic representation of Snider’s artistry, offering a beautiful and thoughtful glimpse into the mind of this musical genius. Whether you’re a longtime fan or a newcomer, it serves as an excellent introduction to Snider’s profound thinking and lyrical storytelling. The predominantly acoustic guitar and harmonica, coupled with bluesy driven chords, stay true to Snider’s signature style, and that’s precisely what fans appreciate.

Favorite Tracks: America’s Favorite Pastime, Mercer’s Folley

 

RootsnRevelry Grade:                           

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You may also be interested in Billy Joe Shaver’s Black Rose

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