It's All News marks a return of Ed's Redeeming Qualities, the acoustic alterna-folk band known for their approximately executed songs of whimsy. With this latest offering, the Eds add a number of songs that will soon become classics to the handful of people who buy this album. As with past offerings, the album is rough with little attention paid to slick production. Rather, listening to this album is like being invited to sit in on a jam session with three very close friends and hearing them make music for the sheer fun of it, laughing at each others offbeat lyrics and creating a closeness more in spirit than in rhythms or harmonies. Not that there is anything dissonant or poorly played. The songs on this album are simple but their simplicity is what makes them endearing.
For instance, "Forget It", a song for every male, is summed up with the lyrics "Clean out your head of all those things that I did wrong / You'll only get a headache 'cause the list keeps getting longer and longer / Don't forgive me, just forget it" while wild bongos and a happy, hopping violin play in the background. . The third song on the album is classic ERQ and captures everything I love about this group: a simply rhythm, basic chords, and endearing humorous lyrics that are free from pretense: "I can't be what I want to be/ And no operations gonna save me/ I was born in 1963 in Ohio / I know I won't be the King of Calypso / I can barely sing as it is so / You don't even have to say it/ I already know." How can you not love songs like this? What are you, the grinch? Many of the songs deal with love, such as "Lawyers & Truckers" as sung from the viewpoint of a trucker who loves a waitress who it turns out hates truckers but loves lawyers. "The Curse" finds the singer trying to woe his girlfriend with " Why don't you come and live with me? / You'll get the spare keys to my car / And we'll split the groceries / You'll pay half as much in rent and you'll have twice as many keys." Whether it's the lyrics or the fun melodies played on baritone ukelele and "rice in a coffee can", this album needs a nice home... why not yours?
This review first appeared in WhatzUp, November 2000.