This is my second Laura Nyro record and I find myself once again struck by her performances as opposed to her songs.
I think it’s safe to say that, at least at this point, Nyro is not on her way to becoming one of my favourite songwriters. I appreciate he weird structures and unconventional approach but I have yet to be particularly struck by her lyrics, or really connect with them. Even the Nyro songs I know well – such as “Save the Country” on this record – I know and enjoy because of the performances I know them from, not because I think the songs are particularly great. Maybe I just need more time, as they are pretty unconventional for pop songs but, at least at the moment, that’s not what I find impressive about her.
Rather, I find her brash style pretty impressive; it’s theatrical and demonstrative in a way that you don’t expect from a “songwriter”. I guess she’s just too idiosyncratic to have become mainstream as a performer, but it’s still surprising to me that she is known more for her songs than her unique style.
Moreover, on this record, the arrangements that dominated the previous record have been scaled back, to come in seemingly at random (sometimes) and the result is fascinating. Not only do Nyro’s performances feel even more passionate with fewer instruments to support her most of the time, but the way in which these additional instruments are integrated feels so arbitrary as to almost feel like a comment on the prevalence of such arrangements in this kind of music. It’s neat.
Anyway, I think I like this one more than the last one. And maybe I’ll listen to it enough over the years that I will come to enjoy her songs more. For the moment, it’s her style and the crazy arrangements that I enjoy most.