On The Randy Newman Songbook Vol. 2
, the second in a proposed three-volume retrospective, the singer and songwriter offers another engrossing solo set, just piano and voice, that swings between the hilarious and the heartbreaking, sometimes brilliantly encompassing both. Longtime collaborators Mitchell Froom and Lenny Waronker, who were also behind the boards for Newman’s acclaimed 2008 Nonesuch disc Harps and Angels, co-produced. These 16 tunes, drawn from a catalogue that now spans four decades, are not normal indeed: as the Chicago Reader put it, "Newman is a composer of vast stylistic knowledge and sophistication as well as a lyricist of blistering wit and honesty – his best songs ripple with dark humor that cuts right to the heart of American hypocrisy." "Cowboys" first appeared on his stunningly mature 1968 debut, Randy Newman, while the grimly amusing "Laugh and Be Happy" and the bittersweet ‘Losing You’ are taken from Harps and Angels.