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Q&A: Randy Newman

Rob Tannenbaum, Rolling Stone, 19 August 1999

BEFORE ICE Cube, before Eric Bogosian, before Chris Rock, before the country was close to ready, Randy Newman wrote and sang thorny portraits of racists, bigots, sadists and other creeps. On the magnificently dispiriting Bad Love, the fifty-five-year-old pianist reprises his blend of rock bluster, blues shuffles and classical dissonance, and introduces a vivid new batch of fools: rich older men who beg for young girls' notice or nap blankly in the shade of a big-screen TV; chronic liars; hurtful exes; uncomprehending couples; and, in 'I'm Dead (But I Don't Know It)', rock stars who tour long past their expiration date. Newman worries that he may be dead, too. "It's harder to make an impact, because I'm old," rock's cantankerous uncle says with a comic sigh. "There's your headline: I'M OLD, I'VE BEEN AWAY — I'M BACK AND NO ONE CARES."

Total word count of piece: 762

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