Todd Snider: Peace Queer

At one point during Peace Queer, Todd Snider addresses his audience, explaining how his friends have remarked his songs are getting more and more opinionated lately. "I did not do this to change your mind about anything, I did this to ease my own mind about everything," he explains. It's as if Snider understands how even his fans might scratch their heads over his eight-song album of social commentary about the grinding demands money-­grubbing greed makes on our lives and spirits. They certainly might puzzle over his spoken-word reading of the hokey bully-in-the-schoolyard "lesson" piece, "Is This Thing Working?," later repeated to musical accompaniment as "Is This Thing On?" Someone in Snider's corner should have had enough sense to tell him to play these to himself; that, while they have a certain naive liberal charm, they're only worth hearing once. Not to say Peace Queer is a total waste. With "Mission Accomplished," Snider brilliantly parodies George Michael's "You Gotta Have Faith" with a flippant, ironic lyric. "Stuck on the Corner (Prelude to a Heart Attack)" rocks like Bob Dylan fronting Chuck Berry's vintage band; fans of Snider's Memphis band The Nervous Wrecks will love it. But though his acoustic reading of John Fogerty's "Fortunate Son" may be timely, that doesn't help it hit its mark, and "Dividing the Estate" will never rank very high in Snider's prolific catalog. For all its good intentions, Peace Queer is for Snider completists only


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