Folky American Pop E.P.
One day, your grandchildren are going to be over for Sunday brunch. You’ll be listening to the oldies station, and they’re going to bug you to change it. Then Alan Jay Sufrin’s music is going to come on, and two things are going to happen:
1 They’re going to stop complaining.
2 You’re going to tell them that you knew about Alan Jay Sufrin before everyone else did.
They won’t believe you, of course—any more than my grandkids are going to believe that I owned a Nirvana album before Nevermind came out or that I did a show with Mos Def. (Well, Mos Def might not make the historical cut, but we’ll see.) As for Mr. Sufrin: a gifted writer/singer/multi-instrumentalist who falls somewhere between Bruce Springsteen and Prince (yes, really), he has that Perfect Pop Voice and knows his way around a pop song like old guys know their way around museums. The rapacious funk of “Mr. Misery” segues directly into the picture-perfect emotional crescendos of “Big Black Limousine.” “Limousine” really is a single that could take over the radio: the aspiring singer’s equivalent of an emotional I-can’t-wait love song, it’s about walking down the street, the sun shining on you like a spotlight and feeling like everything’s going to come together and wanting it to happen more than anything not being able to know for sure whether it will or not.
“Oh, Dearheart” is a middle-school slow-dance song in the best way possible, the kind that my wife loves and I love to tease her about. “Forbidden Fruit” is that kind of second single that gets released right after “Limousine,” the one that makes you say “oh, yeah…that’s what he sounds like.” It’s an old-school remix of a Pete Seeger-like song, the kind Pete himself’d make if he knew his way around a beatmaking kit. The whole thing draws to a close with “Abrienda, Please,” a flamenco-tinged waltz that manages to swing, whisper, and rock us to sleep, and wake us right back up again.