Todd Snider is a quite buzy artist. The Memphis resident, who is having is very own style, is already releasing his 19th studio album on 23rd April 2021. The title is First Agnostic Church of Hope And Wonder. If you are not persuaded to read this review, maybe you like the story of the album, according to the artist: The record is the story of a preacher who starts this church that is total bullshit. People start giving him money anyway, but then they start asking him questions. So then he prays to God and God helps him. But the moral of the story is that God’s hilarious. Here is my review. Amen!
Todd Snider – About The Artist
Todd Snider is a 1966-born singer-songwriter from Memphis. He is combining Americana, alternative country and folk sounds. He was born and grew up in Portland, Oregon. His musical career became more professional with a residency at a bar called Dailey Planet. The club was also part of the name of his 1994 debut album, Songs for the Dailey Planet, which made it to the Top 25 in the US heat. Especially in the early 2000’s, Snider was very active and released multiple albums. His highest chart position was a fourth place with the 2006 album The Devil You Know in the US Heat Charts. A couple of albums made it to similar positions later.
Todd Snider – First Agnostic Church of Hope And Wonder – Track by Track
The ten track album lasts 35 minutes.
1. Turn Me Loose (I’ll Never Be The Same)
There are three ways of listening to the album: the first one is just having it running in the background, doing something else in parallel and not caring too much about the songs. You might even like the rhythm and the vibes of the song and have a good feeling while listening. Then, you might listen to the song properly. But if you are lucky to have the explanation and story Todd Snider thought about, then Turn Me Loose (I’ll Never Be The Same) simply becomes hilarious.
2. The Get Together
While the opening track rather had a country music touch, The Get Together comes with the relaxed groove of a blues track. Nice one.
Is everybody ready for the get together
Day after forever, Oblivion or better
You better get ready
Come on, somebody
3. Never Let A Day Go By
The song is a reference to a song by Jerry Jeff Walker, Stereo Chickens, in which the backing vocals state Never Let A Day Go By. The monotony and the frequency in which these words occur in the third track almost give a touch of members of a very strange and nerdy cult. I like the style of the song.
4. That Great Pacific Garbage Patch
There is an made out of garbage
Twice the size of the State of Texas
It’s wall to wall with plastic white trash
Adrift upon the sea of indifference
In between us and our existence
And they call it that Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
I love that sense of irony, in which Todd Snider is telling story about a completely weird world and thinking. Banjo and guitars create a maniacal sound, which finally turn into alarm sirens towards the middle of the song.
5. Handsome John
The piano song Handsome John is a musical praise to John Prine. Snider met Prine for the first time, when he drove him around Memphis while Prine recorded The Missing Years. Later, Snider was an openict act at John Prine shows.
6. Sail On My Friend
Snider wrote Sail On, My Friend for a close friend, who was battling against drug abuse, alcoholism and depression. It was written about falling back to drinking alcohol right before another show. Very deep lyric, one of my favorite songs on the album.
7. Battle Hymn Of The Album
This song is about racisim, social injustice. It references the American abolitionist John Brown in the lyrics. In the track notes to the album, Snider states about young black men, I believe these young men are being systematically funneled into private prisons. I am for the abolishment of prison. It’ll be fine. Trust me. I am a reverend.
8. Stoner Yodel Number One
The drums and percussion are the key element of this weird track. There is in fact yodeling in the song, the chorus closes with Now you’re preaching to the shithouse choir. Nice groove and an amazing song to listen to.
9. Agnostic Preacher’s Lament
The song is the preacher’s prayer to God. It is just spoken words and some backing vocals. Very special.
10. The Resignation Vs The Comeback
The reverend is already ready to step down – but then the whole thing turns into a happier ending. The end of a really ironically told story – and a very special album.
Todd Snider – First Agnostic Church of Hope And Wonder – Spotify
Here is Todd Snider’s album on Spotify:
Todd Snider – First Agnostic Church of Hope And Wonder – My View
No doubt, the First Agnostic Church of Hope And Wonder is something special. Todd Snider is a special artist. And “special” in that case means: either you like it… or you absolutely hate it. I definitely loved to listen to the story told in the way of the Memphis artist. Give it a try – and find out if you are on the thumbs up or thumbs down side.
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