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John Hollenbeck: Songs We Like a Lot

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Songs I Like a Lot was one of 2013’s best records and one of the most majestic albums of the 21st century. Arranger and bandleader John Hollenbeck nearly created an entirely new genre by blending big-band music and pop songs with modern classical sensibilities, oddball vocal arrangements and cinematic sweep. Jimmy Webb’s “Wichita Lineman” and “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress” never sounded so gorgeous. The whole album was experimental, quirky and phenomenally enjoyable.

The sequel, Songs We Like a Lot, is only experimental and quirky. Hollenbeck applies the same concept to another seven songs but comes up with an unlistenable mess. Novelty becomes cliché, and the album winds up feeling like a collection of rejects-or maybe parodies-from the initial session.

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