Curse the singer-songwriter who takes himself too seriously. A lone musician on an otherwise empty stage leaves plenty of room for levity, and Nick Robin takes advantage of that. Only a guy with some humility and a sense of humor would adopt a Nick Cave-ish croon and pose the state of nightclubs ("Too many dudes") as an earnest lament.
Though "Dudes" is Back from the Dead's oddball standout--a dance floor parody among laid-back folk pop--it's not the sole highlight. Robin tries on different tempos and moods like a fine array of hats, and pulls them all off with knowing confidence. Opener "Drive-On" is the introductory lullaby to a nap in the backseat, capping a lazy melody with an artificial choir and vibraphone. "White Horse, Black Tie" takes a subtle stab at bar rock but stops just short of actually rocking. And the haunting, stripped down "Bordertown" could serve as the perfect soundtrack entry, at least until Robin yells, "Take me Lord, take me I'm ready to go!," stealing the attention from whatever was happening onscreen.
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