Loneliness In America
The spirit of Springsteen and Dylan lives in this excellent singer songwriter. Mark Mallman can rock out with the best (“Death Wish”) and squeeze deeply introspective, suicidal thoughts out of life’s mystery (“God Gone Bad”). His jazz style combined with classical training at the Milwaukee Conservatory of Music give him a firm handle on pop song writing. “Hard Core Romantics” may be the best song on this collection; it’s lyrical and melodic, but emits an urgency that translates into a longing last chance at romance. Mirroring this tune is the faster, more urgent “Do You Feel Like Breaking Up?” featuring the call “Who would die first in a movie like this?” The immediate response is “No one ever died in life from breaking up.” Yeah, right.
Mallman’s had a troubled career — great notices in his home town, yet enough mild depression to prevent touring. My reference called it Dysthymia, which I had to look up. It’s the sort of dark melancholy that leads to Midwestern Lutheran cynicism, and that makes perfect sense for a guy who grew up in Milwaukee. Mallman makes this disc available as a free download; it’s worth snatching now, before he cheers up and changes his mind.
Mark Mallman: www.mallman.com