In my yoof, I do believe I was the only person I knew who knew and liked both Harry Nilsson and Randy Newman. Not merely liked, but was extremely fond of. So I read this young man's take on what he (or a sub) called L.A. Weirdos with great pleasure, and not a little envy at his perspicaciousness. As in
Most of Newman's songs are written from the perspective of what some might call an "unreliable narrator," or, in less delicate terms, an "asshole." Good Old Boys is full of assholes big and small. They're racists and provincial creeps. They have big dogs in their yard, and they're happy to sic them on you. And Newman's grace as a writer is that he puts you in a position to care about these jerks.
But while I was nodding happily in agreement, one thing bothered me. If Nilsson and Newman are so inextricably linked in this bloke's mind -- " (If you're looking for a nice point of connection, the first song on Song Cycle, "Vine Street",1 was written by Newman and later covered by Nilsson.)" -- how come I never really got round to Van Dyke Parks then? And is it too late now?
25 January 2018: Removed from YouTube for all the usual reasons. ↩