Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

by Michelle ShockedMichelle Shocked


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Described by its creator as "Short Sharp Shocked all grown up," Don't Ask, Don't Tell doesn't bear all that close a surface resemblance to Michelle Shocked's first studio album beyond the fact that it's easily her most straightforward and accessible piece of roots-influenced pop
ock since she went into the studio with Pete Anderson back in 1988. Produced by Dusty Wakeman, Don't Ask, Don't Tell is strongly informed by the rhythm and blues accents that have been increasingly prominent in Shocked's music in recent years, especially on tunes like "Hardly Gonna Miss Him," "Don't Ask," and "Used Car Lot," though the album also finds Shocked dipping her toes into laid-back jazz grooves ("Goodbye"), lonesome country moods ("Elaborate Sabotage"), and funky New Orleans rhythms (" Don't Tell"). She also tosses in two fine mid-tempo rock tunes that sound like the sort of thing Mercury were begging her to write from Captain Swing onward, "Fools Like Us" and "How You Play the Game." One of the long-standing bugaboos of Shocked's eclecticism is that her gumbo of influences don't always cohere into a good soup, and that problem dogs Don't Ask, Don't Tell from time to time -- while Shocked is in solid voice here and has written some lovely melodies, this set of songs doesn't seem to have a strong enough center to make it all seem like a coherent whole, and the album's lyrical voice isn't nearly as strong as the music (especially when she slips in broadly theatrical delivery on the two title cuts). Don't Ask, Don't Tell is a set of good to very good songs that find Michelle Shocked in the company of some fine players with genuine sympathy for her material, but somehow the results don't congeal into a whole that's as interesting as the parts, though in many ways it ranks with her most musically pleasing albums since Arkansas Traveler. [Don't Ask, Don't Tell was released on the same day and date as two other albums from Shocked, Got No Strings and Mexican Standoff, and the three were also made available as a set called Threesome.]

Product Details

Release Date: 06/21/2005
Label: Imports
UPC: 0820692100723
catalogNumber: 9210072
Rank: 58862

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