Review Revue: Tommy Keene – Back Again (Try…)

Tommy Keene had all the makings of an ’80s new wave pop star. He had the songwriting chops and the crisp production (courtesy, on this EP, of T-Bone Burnett and Don Dixon), he had the mainstream critical acclaim and college radio success, and he had the clean-cut good looks. But despite a string of well-received records and a devoted fan base, he never quite crossed over into household name status. These sorts of things happen (or don’t happen) all the time, and it can rarely be ascribed to any one cause, but based on the commentary here, I have to wonder if his penny loafers might have had something to do with it. It would be sad for such a great songwriter to be undone by his choice of footwear, but it seems to have proved distracting to at least one of our KCMU friends of yore. Or maybe there’s just something about him that drove the conversation to petty sniping, rather than focusing on the music at hand? Oh no, sorry, that happens with pretty much everyone.

Keene is still actively playing music. Last year he released his 10th studio album, and even did a west coast tour in January of this year, making a stop at Seattle’s hallowed Sunset Tavern. We hope he comes back again; we promise not to judge his shoes.

“Some awesome pop, and a couple of silly covers.”

“He looks so sweet…”

“Title cut is wonderful.”

“Cheap penny loafers.”

“Let’s active + M. Crenshaw watch out!”

“Well… OK…”

“He’s wearing a Marshall Crenshaw watch? Where?”

“He said, I quote, Let’s Active (and) Marshall Crenshaw watch out!”

“I’m sorry, my cheap shot at humor shows what true fuck-up I really am! Now identify yourself, scum!”

“He admits it. What a momentous occasion.”

“Let’s not get nasty… I was simply correcting you. I mean really…”

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