Album of the Day
As leader of the American Music Club, Mark Eitzel made some of the most gloriously downbeat alternative rock of the 1980s and 1990s, and his solo albums delve further into a world of restless strangers and beautiful losers. On his final album for Warner Bros., 1997's WEST, the singer-songwriter finds a surprisingly effective foil in R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, who produced the set and cowrote all but one of its dozen songs. Buck's bright guitar work is the ideal counterweight to Eitzel's sometimes dark (and sometimes wickedly funny) lyrics on such songs as "Fresh Screwdriver," "If You Have to Ask" and shoulda-been-hit "'In Your Life." Heartache rarely sounds as hopeful as it does here, so if you ever need encouragement after life throws you curves, go WEST young man!