First, let’s get this out of the way: Duncan Sheik is one of the most underrated singer/songwriters in history. From the time he quietly broke into the spotlight with the undeniably catchy “Barely Breathing” and “She Runs Away,” to his laid-back second album Humming and the experimental-orchestral Phantom Moon to his return to form for Daylight, Duncan Sheik has done it all. And on his latest album White Limousine, Sheik proves that his songwriting is some of, if not the best of this generation.
The tragic “Hey Casanova” opens the album with Sheik softly singing about the fall of a hero (or maybe an ego). That’s followed by the uplifting “The Dawn’s Request” with the Sheik belting “Sunrise saved me this time” throughout the climax. It’s one of the many ways that he takes a song straight to the core of the listener. He makes empathy seem easier than it is.
Sheik’s lyrical prowess has never been better, especially on the title track where he takes a subtle jab at American society: “America, America/ And this is our reward/ Everybody’s boring/ And everybody’s bored.”
Every song is outstanding, but the one that really stands out is “Shopping.” Sheik laments about how he “can serenade you as you’re rolling down the aisles.” His take on consumerism and how it ruins dreams and personalities is spot-on and makes the listener think twice about spending money just because.
Duncan Sheik has been making pop perfection for over a decade and White Limousine is proof that he is just getting better. His ability to tap into what the listener feels and thinks is remarkable and it is what makes him one of the best songwriters in history. And not only do you get his version of these 12 tracks, but the album also contains a disc to play on your computer to rearrange the songs however you want. So you not only get one of the best albums of 2006, but you get to play producer and try to make it even better. That in itself makes the album worth getting. Even without it, White Limousine is a must-have.
Duncan Sheik: www.duncansheik.com