The Talented Penn Brother
Many fans would probably recommend Michael Penn’s 1989 debut album, March, featuring the minor hit, “No Myth.” And… you can’t go wrong with that one. But, it’s Penn’s under-the-radar sophomore release, Free-For-All, that sets a pop standard that even he’s yet to equal. Penn can deliver acoustic material with a veteran’s ease, not unlike a Peter Case or a T-Bone Burnett, but it’s his rockers that shine brightest. “Free Time” and the pun heavy “Seen The Doctor” embody that inventive 60s spirit where instruments morph with each verse, harmonies wander in and out of the mix and Revolver is in the air. Regarding his compositional chops, take special note of Penn’s powerful bridges, amping the standard verse-chorus-verse template into a full, 3D experience. Married to singer Aimee Mann, Michael’s kin are actors Chris & Sean Penn, making him Madonna’s ex-brother-in-law. Which is rather pointless. Five out-of-print albums (March, Resigned, MP4 & Mr. Hollywood Jr. 1947, being the others) and Penn hasn’t made a bad one yet. Free-For-All is an obscure pop great that, like the other 4, lingers @ Amazon for only 1¢.
Long Way Down (Look What The Cat Drug In)
Seen The Doctor
By The Book
Slipping My Mind
Now We’re Even
“Free Time” (1993)
The CD single for Free-For-All‘s “Free Time,” featuring the Butch Vig remix, along with two live tracks and an excellent acoustic rendition of “Seen The Doctor.” Also a penny at Amazon.
Free Time (Butch Vig Remix) (4:09)
Rising Steam (Live) (5:40)
By The Book (Live) (4:41)
Seen The Doctor (Acoustic) (3:11)