Home Read Classic Album Review: Mason Jennings | Century Spring

Classic Album Review: Mason Jennings | Century Spring

The singer-songwriter's stunning third album proves talent & fame don't always mix.

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This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):

 


What’s the difference between a superstar troubadour like Ryan Adams or Rufus Wainwright and an unsung underdog like Mason Jennings? Well, not much, judging by Jennings’ stunning third album Century Spring.

Which is not to suggest that Jennings is some sort of Rufus or Ryan retread — only to point out that anything they can do, he can do just as well. He can craft gorgeously textured, endearingly personal piano ballads filled with hopeless romantic yearning. He can toss off loose, scrappy roots-pop ditties about how much he loves New York. He can write a catchy chorus that doesn’t sound like you’ve heard it before. He can sing his distinctive lyrics with a slightly dry, nasal voice that would sound right at home coming out of your radio. And as he effortlessly mixes bits of rock, pop, folk, blues, country and glam, he can make you understand once again that talent and fame are mutually exclusive.