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MP3 Steve Mardon - Critic's Darling

Eighteen twangy, witty songs about love gone wrong, love gone right, office lust, crossword puzzles, a rambling cat, and more. Includes the only song in the history of recorded music to rhyme "hiatus" with "sadist."

18 MP3 Songs
COUNTRY: Country Folk, FOLK: Modern Folk

Alex Beam, Boston Globe: I''ve listened to all the cuts on ''Critic''s Darling,'' and there are moments when I hear the wit and the twang of the younger John Prine.

https://www.tradebit.com: Critic''s Darling has all the elements of your classic coffeehouse/college radio/Borders Books type singer/songwriter folk rock. What sets it apart is his sly humor throughout the whole CD. Office politics, failed romances and songs about house cats make for a pleasant break from the "oh so serious" folkies out there today.

https://www.tradebit.com: Mardon is a clever songwriter, displaying the same wry, intelligent use of lyrics that Randy Newman employs ... He is as good a performer as he is a writer. Relaxed and confident, he slips into the role of storyteller with ease.

Soundcheck magazine: Mostly humorous, country-based tunes from a guy with a happening singer/songwriter vibe ... well-written, insightful, etc. ... I like it! Even though Steve''s no virtuoso, he''s fun. The words, the double-entendres, the puns, and Steve''s general outlook on life are the things that make this CD. I could quote a few songs to try and hook you, but that''s not the best way - take the time to go check this guy out!

https://www.tradebit.com: Bostonian Steve Mardon is one humorous listen. I mean, this guy rib-tickles with tunes soaked in the atmosphere of keen observation, paced to attentive lyrics. He''s funny, he''s timely, and he''s a little out of the norm, and, in my book, there''s nothing wrong with that. For those old enough, and if you want a musical identikit, think a subdued Doctor Hook.

On his generous self-released 18 tracker, Critic''s Darling comes bearing a moderate country twang, all seasoned with mischief, suspicion and loads of giggles. It''s an album that skips around the familiar. For instance, how many albums cover the topicality of Viagra? Then there''s an involvement with a music critic, one who awards our hero''s performance with five stars, and, among other gems, a teaching tale of doctors. Doctors who are doing incredible things, rebuilding your knees, among other parts, with implanted metal and springs? Yeah, it''s that kind of album.

Mardon is a dealer in rhyme, quick lines and humorous images. However, you need look beyond his simple song titles to hear the active brain of an off-the-beam writer.

I mean, there are ditties like "Doctors Today," a rag about medicos saving this and that, except there''s no cure for heartache. Then there''s the ode to "Coffee and Beer," where we learn our hero starts his day with coffee and ends it with a beer - and between wonders what the heck he''s doin'' here. There are love songs, of sorts - "High On Your Love," a rocking shuffle of mood altering proportions; "Short-Term Romance, Long-Term Pain," an emotional drag that limps with a tell-all title; the "CD Song," a recognizable tale of parting, only to ask for one''s CDs before the door slams shut. And there''s the revealing "Rated X," which doesn''t cover the divorce advice offered by the similar tagged tune by Loretta Lynn, though the song folds in the same way - both parties in both songs are in the "ex" files by the end. In Mardon''s tune, he plays with ratings, suggesting their romance started as a "G," but life and love''s losing path has her now rated "X". It''s a funny take on a miserable event.

Steve Mardon''s humor is raw and tingles, and his subject matter and content are suburban and recognizable. Given the predictability of what''s heard on radio, we need more of this musical diversity in the marketplace. While being a critic''s darling is a stretch for me, overall, I enjoyed what I heard. He made me laugh. And isn''t that what it''s about?

https://www.tradebit.com: Usually, the funny song genre is not our forte: few songwriters have a real sense of humor and most confuse sophomoric and childish for funny. Steve Mardon does not make that mistake on Critic''s Darling: Damn, he''s good and those are catchy tunes.

Critic''s Darling is a collection of story songs with a humorous twist. Even those that are not really meant to be funny, like "Right On Red," have a hidden smile here and there. Of course, since this is in many ways a funny song CD, there is a song about a cat, "Tex''s Tune" and it is a cool bluesy number. "CD Song," is funny and it''s obvious: basically, the guy is getting over his breakup but really misses the CDs his ex has kept. It seems she liked his music more than him. You could just picture this song as a case for Judge Judy.

Mardon is a good songwriter who manages to explore a few musical genres on the same CD without any song clashing overall. The production values are there with full instrumentation and excellent backup singers when necessary.

This independent release CD includes two tracks recorded live. "Crossword Puzzle Blues" is a nice take on unrequited love song but it''s about a crossword puzzle. It pays to listen to this one a couple of times to get all of the humor and writing talent behind it. "I Couldn''t Have Done It Without You" is another quirky song. Basically, it is a credit song where Steve Mardon thanks his ex for the many songs the breakup has caused.

Steve Mardon: A good singer, a good songwriter, a solid musician, and a guy with an offbeat but real sense of humor. We really wish we could slam Critic''s Darling just from its title but we honestly can''t.


Steve Mardon is a twangy singer-songwriter whose songs are distinguished by offbeat lyrics and catchy choruses. Where else will you find lyrics such as:

"The new girl at the office, with the overhead projector
When some fool says her plan won''t work, I rise up to protect her"
--New Girl at the Office

"Livin'' on bottled water / livin'' on red alert
Smallpox in my bloodstream / anthrax on my shirt" --Fear Factor

"We''re always on a hiatus / how can you be such a sadist?" --Distracted

"Like a communist regime persecutin'' a monk...
Or a refugee on a raft that sunk...
Like a millionaire executive tossed in a trunk...
I only think about you when I''m drunk" --When I''m Drunk

Steve plays often around the Boston area to a fan base that is simultaneously growing and shrinking. The 18-song "Critic''s Darling" CD, his first full-length album, was released in 2004 on Egregious Typo Records, a largely fictitious label (although the songs do exist).

The studio songs were recorded at Pete Weiss'' Zippah Studios in Brighton and Dave Rizzuti''s Strong Recording in Arlington. You have to buy the CD to find out which songs were recorded at which studio.

Steve played acoustic guitar, sang, and brought the beer. Other musicians on the CD include Pete (electric guitar), Dave (pedal steel guitar), Rob Huffman (acoustic guitar, mandolin, vocals), Alison Darrow (vocals), Kevin Quinn (electric bass), Emily Jackson (drums), Mercy James (drums), and Neil Helme (acoustic bass). An interesting footnote regarding the bass players: Steve has known Kevin since the fourth grade; he does not know Neil very well but loves his work on "Tex''s Tune."

Pete produced 11 songs, Dave produced five, and two live tracks were recorded on Rob''s trusty mini-disc machine. The clapping you hear is genuine applause from the show and was not preceded by Steve prompting the audience with anything annoying like, "Hey, we''re recording this for a live album so everybody make some noise." Pete mastered the CD when no one was looking.

A number of songs have received airplay around Boston. The River, at 92.9, played "Coffee and Beer." WMBR, the MIT station at 88.1, has played "C & B," "Right on Red," "When I''m Drunk," and "The CD Song" on the "Jake''s Juke Joint" program and "New Girl at the Office" and "High on Your Love" on the "Troubadour" program. WHRB, the Harvard station at 95.3, has played "Critic''s Darling," "C & B," and "Short-Term Romance" on "Hillbilly at Harvard." Stations in Germany and Belgium have played several songs, including "I''ll Take a Tuesday." And the https://www.tradebit.comntry internet program Boot Liquor Radio (https://www.tradebit.com has played a bunch of tracks.

Steve''s earlier 8-song "Coffee & Beer" EP (all of which is included on the "Critic''s Darling" CD) received favorable reviews in Northeast Performer ("An entertaining album ... If you heard Mardon in a bar, you''d think he sounded cool, and then you''d perk up your ears and pay attention"), Bostonia ("''New Girl at the Office'' is a minor classic-in-the-making "), and many other publications and websites. Reviews, with the nasty bits deleted, are posted on the Press page of the website at https://www.tradebit.com.

Just about everybody who hears the CD likes it, or is at least too polite to complain.

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