Singer-songwriter Amy Rigby is back with Little Fugitive and while the album is wildly uneven (the first half sparkles, the second half fizzles), the good is so good that the bad seems like nothing more than a minor transgression.
With 1996's Diary of a Mod Housewife, Rigby began her solo recording career with witty, tuneful melodies about thirtysomething life as a single mother, but a decade later her songs have made a natural progression into witty, tuneful melodies about fortysomething life as a remarried mother. Each are aural documentaries of the mundane intricacies of the working-class woman's life, told with goofball humor, poetic wordplay, and a sincerity that makes her misfired lyrics forgivable.
"Like Rasputin" starts things off with the punchy chorus, "I'm like Rasputin/I get back up again," delivering the anthem of a chick who's been knocked down so many times, she takes pride in her ability to lift herself off the canvas. Track two, "The Trouble With Jeanie," begins with one of the album's most memorable lines, if only because of its social relevance: "Jeanie is my new husband's ex-wife." Follow that up with "It looks like she's gonna be a part of my life/'cause there's a couple of kids/and twentysome years they share" and for three minutes you know what it's like to be in Amy Rigby's shoes.
| Little fugitive |
"Dancing with Joey Ramone" is an ode to one dance with the late Ramones singer, featuring a frenetic punk breakdown that makes it all the more fun. "That's The Time" is a slow tribute to how thoroughly she is loved by another, presumably her husband. It's also the last of the album's most stellar tracks. It's not that the other tracks are lackluster compared to most of what's out there - just lackluster compared to most of Amy Rigby. Then again, even when she's bad - and "Year of the Fling" is just bad - she's better than most of what she's competing against. •