Dan Bern | Fleeting Days

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Messenger Records

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United States - New Mexico

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Rock: Folk Rock Metal/Punk: New York Punk Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Fleeting Days

by Dan Bern

Being captivated by Dan is the easy part; describing his music to the non-initiated is more difficult. One journalist tried: "topical-poetical-sarcastic-punk-folk." An admirable effort, further elaborated by the New York Times: "He veers from comedy to an
Genre: Rock: Folk Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
clip
1. Baby Bye Bye
3:06 album only
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2. Eva
3:46 album only
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3. Superman
3:58 album only
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4. Closer to You
7:00 album only
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5. I Need You
4:16 album only
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6. Chain Around My Neck
2:32 album only
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7. Jane
2:36 album only
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8. Crow
2:31 album only
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9. Don't Make Me Leave
3:43 album only
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10. City
3:38 album only
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11. Fly Away
6:46 album only
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12. Graceland
5:00 album only
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13. Soul
4:25 album only

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
What does the fiercest, funniest, most tender-hearted folk-rocker on the scene do when he grows up? If it's Dan Bern, he makes Fleeting Days and caroms his scathing free-associative takes on pop, politics, sex and culture to a staggering new level.

Over the course of his five official recordings and the many EPs, performance-only specials, and soundtrack contributions the man and his lethal guitar have recorded since 1997, Bern has been finding the big picture in the small — whether plumbing the infinite sadness of being Van Gogh's overlooked son or describing a horrific breakup through the gentle light of an Italian holiday. With Fleeting Days, Bern processes the monumental, sifting through the rubble of youth and devastating world events, and comes up with gems of insight and emotion.

Bern is reflexively literate, in the style of his favorite authors, including L.A.'s legendary bohemians Charles Bukowski and John Fante, urbane fantasist James Thurber, and yarn-spinning humorist Ring Lardner. Bern is in love with the power of words to turn on themselves, to frolic, to bite, and his strong, friendly voice can go from earnest to ferocious within seconds. But Fleeting Days is beyond folk and beyond irony. In "Baby Bye Bye," love is music and music is love, and neither has to be "good" to be full of meaning. A tired "Superman," unequal to saving this mess of a world, hangs up his cape and puts in a call to Lois Lane. With a full band behind him and a bag of tricks that encompasses a vast musical spectrum, Bern sounds as big as he thinks. The joyous synth-pop of "Jane" rejects Einstein's theory of relativity for the simple pleasures of thinking about a girl; the adamant "Crow" moves punkishly fast and takes a stand — this is the sound of a man putting his psychological house in order, deciding what's important and chucking the rest. Bern finds that the rock and roll life is a "Graceland" of the mind, a place where everyone who loves music can live, with or without a living Elvis. And "Closer to You" might be a love song, but it's intense, ominous, and elliptical, strewn with broken glass like a potent, painful affair.

The nomadic Bern, a Mid-westerner-turned-Angeleno now residing in a small desert town in New Mexico, has always had an outsider's wry vision. He grew up in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, informed equally by the wholesome wheatiness which inspired his longtime passion for sports in general and baseball in particular, and his Jewish immigrant parents' artistic leanings (he played cello as a child) before decamping for the West Coast neo-folk scene in the early 1990s. His self-titled 1997 album stunned critics new to the sophisticated smart-ass sounds of Dan Bern; songs like "Marilyn," "Jerusalem" and "I'm Not the Guy" attracted swarms of fans tired of folkie self-righteousness and a general lack of fun. 50 Eggs produced the cult hit "Tiger Woods;" the double album Smartie Mine contained the raucously self-referential "Talkin' Woody, Bob, Bruce & Dan Bern Blues;" and 2001's intimate road epic New American Language deepened and widened Bern's purview with gorgeous, thoughtful fables of love, faith and regret. Fleeting Days comes after the scathing Swastika EP and travel diary book/CD World Cup. Dan Bern continues to bring the funny, but this time he's smuggling it within 13 musically eclectic songs, a wider worldview, and his most sophisticated recording to date.

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