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Mr Hollywood Jr, 1947

Price: £10.37 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Mr Hollywood Jr, 1947 + Resigned + Free for All
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Product details

1. Walter Reed
2. Denton Road
3. Room 712, The Apache
4. Pretending
5. The Transistor
6. Mary Lynn
7. 18 September
8. The Television Set Waltz
9. You Know How
10. A Bad Sign
11. O.K.
12. On Automatic
13. Bonus Track 1

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 18 reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Classic Penn -- his best album yet! 2 Aug 2005
By Jill McAlester - Published on Amazon.com
I have been a fan of Michael Penn since the release of his first album, "March." I have anxiously awaited the release of his every subsequent album, but I have never been so excited about any album release as I have been about "Mr. Hollywood, Jr. 1947." Going beyond the concept of the album (which I find intriguing), the songs are among the best-crafted he has ever released, and in classic Penn style, have a way of running through my mind even when the stereo is off.

One of my favorite songs on the album is "Walter Reed," which I interpret as being about a soldier returning from WWII. Not able to fit back in to the life and love he left behind, the song very movingly projects the pain, anger, and isolation that many GIs experienced (and still experience) upon their return home.

Another favorite is "OK," a soothing lullaby for a troubled relationship. No empty promises of a perfect resolution to whatever crisis the song is addressing, but there is at least the hope of a tender and sincere reconciliation.

In sharp contrast to the quiet, gentle "OK" is the bright, peppy "On Automatic." An anthem of frenetic (and possibly irrational) optimism, it's a celebration of high times and fresh starts.

I'd have to say that for me, personally, the weakest song on the album is "You Know How," which is only spoiled for me because MP's phrasing is very reminiscent of Bob Dylan in some parts. It's still a good song, but not my favorite.

In addition to the nine very solid songs on this album, three short concept pieces commemorate specific events from the year 1947, including the Roswell UFO incident and the invention of the transistor. My favorite of these, though, is the "Television Set Waltz." It sounds so much like a period recording that for the few moments it plays, I can almost imagine I'm in another place and time.

If you're a long-time fan of Michael Penn, this album is a must-own. And if you are not familiar with his music, this would be a very good introduction. I feel it represents his best work to date.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A must-have for fans of intelligent songwriting! 2 Aug 2005
By The Somnambulist - Published on Amazon.com
As the cliché goes, you can't judge a book by its cover-- but one look at the slightly askew portrait that graces the cover of Mr. Hollywood Jr. 1947 and you know that there will be more to this CD than what first meets the eye (or ear, in this case.)

Fans of Michael Penn will likely be enthralled by his latest CD, as he continues his tradition of presenting the listener with thoughtful, intelligent lyrics supported by memorable pop hooks.

But it's the darkness below the surface of the glimmer that makes this record hold up to repeated listening.

In some ways, this may be his most subversive offering yet. The songs are ostensibly set in 1947, but are ultimately a reflection of present day dilemmas: the relationship moored in deception - "It's like a play, and the words that I'll say are not for you. They're for the costume" "on a ruse you've come to be depending, baby I'm pretending" ("Pretending") -- or defeat "I've lost the will for fighting over everything" ("Walter Reed.")

Still it's not all doom and gloom in black and white, rather Penn focuses on the shades of gray that more accurately reflect reality in today's Technicolor world. Even the most upbeat tune "On Automatic" seems to suggest, "Yeah, things are looking up, but it's probably all going to hell tomorrow."

"Denton Road" presents one with the unusual perspective and perhaps a bit of dark humor(?) as the recently departed overlooks his viewing with the remark "what's it say about me that I'm bored" and the final verse ends with "I'm in over my head."

"Room 712, The Apache" -- the Apache being a long-gone Las Vegas casino [built in 1932, it was the first Vegas resort to have an elevator - your trivia for the day] -- makes terrific use of a gambling metaphor -- "Baby bet everything, you're gonna lose. But believe it or not, you'll be highly amused. Because what's it worth anyway? It's just another broken part. Give `em your artificial heart."

The metaphors are plentiful throughout Mr. Hollywood Jr. 1947, and the songs layered with meaning...and while I've focused on lyrics here, what makes this a record worth owning and listening to (repeatedly) is the way these little stories are presented with melodies that engage and production that enlightens.

The only song I'm not loving is "Mary Lynn" -- while it's chanting quality and dulcimer suggest a down home revival sing-a-long, it is too repetitive for my tastes.

The CD booklet contains additional narrative that ties the songs together (but not too neatly, that's not Mr. Penn's style) and creates a film noir setting.

The final track is an unlisted one -- "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" - which manages to be simultaneously poignant and indignant (parts of aforementioned indignance seem rather pointedly directed towards the man who currently occupies the Oval Office. Bravo!)
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Penn is back, but not better than ever 16 Nov 2005
By J. Garson - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This is a great album. It has several tracks that really impressed me. Still, there's something missing here. Mr. Penn's earliest works had a brooding quality that is certainly present here, but they also just flat out rocked. Musical themes came and went at breakneck pace, and the sound of the early albums was ritchly layered with found sounds and jangling instrumentation. Since the incredible "Resigned", Penn has seemed to prefer to use simple rhyme shcemes and slower pacing. The writing is still clever, but a cloud of depression has descended on his work, and it does not seem to want to let any sun through.

If you loved MP4 you'll definately love this. Penn's wicked tongue lashes out with clever lyrics and bitter choruses. His guitar lines are still sweet, and the pace is brisk. I would have prefered more of the angry young man who first caught my ear, but this will do.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Quietly very good 30 Sep 2005
By Joe Sheedy - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This cd continues Michael Penn's unapologetic extension of his creatively beatlesque evolution. In some songs he builds upon his last album and matures in his lyrical content and ornate, layered musical composition. In others, he steps away from the mixing board and renders pure talent in his singular, unadorned, pleading vocal quality and accomplished acoustic guitar acompaniment. I am ready to see him in concert.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Good, but we waited 5 years for just THIS? 14 Aug 2005
By Riccardo Spataro - Published on Amazon.com
I liked the new album, I did...I have everything Michael did since March. I can only describe this album as MP4...MArk 2 but slightly better. After waiting though for 5 years for a new album, I figured Michael would be doin much more than we he's issued here. His songs are sounding exactly the same as they did on MP4, which i liked but thought could have been better. He needs to rock out more again....too many slow songs. The problem is that whenever he produced himself, the results aren;t as good as with other producers. Tony Berg and Brendan O'Brien were GREAT for him, but as soon as he starts to produce, or co-produce, as he did on Free-For-All, the results seem lacking a bit. Stick with other producers Mike, seriously.
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