Tuesday, June 18, 1996

Lyle Lovett released The Road to Ensenada

The Road to Ensenada

Lyle Lovett

Released: June 18, 1996

Peak: 24, 4 CW, 62 UK, 23 CN

Sales (in millions): 0.5 US

Genre: alt-country/Americana


Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Don’t Touch My Hat [3:47] (9/28/96, 68 CW)
  2. Her First Mistake [6:28]
  3. Fiona [4:09]
  4. That’s Right, You’re Not from Texas (Lovett, Willis Alan Ramsey, Alison Rogers) [4:54]
  5. Who Loves You Better [4:46]
  6. Private Conversation [4:32] (7/20/96, 72 CW, 12 AA)
  7. Promises [3:07]
  8. It Ought to Be Easier [4:11]
  9. I Can’t Love You Anymore [3:14]
  10. Long Tall Texan (Henry Strzelecki) [3:27]
  11. Christmas Morning [3:43]
  12. The Road to Ensenada/The Girl in the Corner * [10:12]

All songs by Lyle Lovett unless noted otherwise.


4.168 out of 5.00 (average of 13 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Since Pontiac, Lyle Lovett has been experimenting with different sounds, whether it was the big band posturing of Lyle Lovett and His Large Band, the gospel overtones of Joshua Judges Ruth, or the ‘70s singer/songwriter flourishes of I Love Everybody. With The Road to Ensenada, he hunkers down and produces his most straightforward album since Pontiac. As it happens, it is also his best record since that breakthrough album.” AMG

“Lovett strips the sound of the album down to the bare country essentials, allowing it to drift into Western swing, country-rock, folk, and honky tonk when necessary. He also decides to balance his weightier material (Private Conversation, Who Loves You Better, It Ought to Be Easier, I Can’t Love You Anymore, Christmas Morning) with fun, lighthearted numbers like Don’t Touch My Hat, Fiona, and That’s Right (You’re Not From Texas), which are funny without being silly.” AMG

“ In fact, The Road to Ensenada is the lightest album Lyle Lovett has ever made – the darkness that hung around the fringes of Pontiac, Joshua Judges Ruth, and I Love Everybody has drifted away, leaving his wry sense of humor and a newly found empathetic sentimentality. The combination of straightforward instrumentation and lean, catchy, and incisive songwriting results in one of the best albums of his career – he’s just as eclectic and off-handedly brilliant as he has always been, but on The Road to Ensenada he’s more focused and less flashy about his own talent than he’s ever been.” AMG

Notes: * “The Girl in the Corner” is a hidden track that shows up after “The Road to Esenada” after a minute and a half of silence.

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First posted 5/18/2022.

Beck released Odelay: June 18, 1996

image from spinner.com

Originally posted 6/18/2012. Updated 3/9/2013.

Released: 18 June 1996
Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.) 1. Devil’s Haircut (9/28/96, #94 US, #22 UK, #23 AR) 2. Hotwax 3. Lord Only Knows 4. The New Pollution (2/22/97, #78 US, #14 UK, #9 AR) 5. Derelict 6. Novacane 7. Jack-Ass (8/2/97, #73 US, #15 AR) 8. Where It’s At (6/15/96, #40a US, #5 UK, #5 AR) 9. Minus 10. Sissyneck (5/24/97, #30 UK) 11. Readymade 12. High 5 (Rock the Catskills) 13. Ramshackle

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, 0.3 UK, 2.3 world (includes US and UK)

Peak: 16 US, 18 UK


Review: Beck’s song “Loser” “became the alternative-rock anthem of the summer” TB of 1994, but “many self-styled citizens of the alternative nation wrote him off as a one-hit wonder.” EW However, anyone who gave the “wildly eclectic Mellow Gold an open-minded listen knows that Beck Hansen is no novelty-tune phony.” EW The follow-up album proved to be “an eclectic melting pot of ideas,” TB which showcased “Beck’s rock-chameleon identity” EW via an ability “to jump from genre to genre in the manner of David Bowie in the 1970s.” TB With his “technicolor version of his Woody Guthrie-meets-Grandmaster Flash vision,” RS Odelay “found Beck collecting the grooves of generations past and reshaping them into a postmodern tapestry, merging countless samples and styles into one cohesive whole.” SL “Songs frequently morph from one genre to another, seemingly unrelated genre – bursts of noise give way to country songs with hip-hop beats, easy listening melodies transform into a weird fusion of pop, jazz, and cinematic strings.” AMG

An important trait to Beck’s success is his “whacked-out street poetry” EW and “ever-present sense of humor: Without straying into Weird Al territory, he imbues his lyrics with a healthy sense of the absurd – something almost entirely lacking in rock today. ‘'I got a stolen wife and a rhinestone life, and some good old boys/ I’m writing my will on a three-dollar bill,'’ he sings in ‘Sissyneck’.” EW “‘Devil’s Haircut’ describes a demented hell while The New Pollution parodies an age-old caricature of corrupt women.” SL

Credit also goes to “sampledelic producers the Dust Brothers,” RS who were “responsible for the smorgasbord of tasty, left-field samples on the Beastie Boys’ seminal Paul’s Boutique.” EW As a result, Odelay samples everyone from Tchaikovsky to the Frogs EW and tracks are filled “with background tambourines, maracas, and synthesizers, lending the album much of its bizarre, oddly gratifying texture.” SL

It isn’t just that Beck “accomplishes his sonic experiment” SL with “resolute confidence” SL and surprisingly “relative coherency.” SL The album is a “defining statement of an entire generation in the throes of finding its own voice.” SLOdelay can be seen as the artist’s own cheeky response to other Gen X alternative acts.” SL He “completely ignored the angst-driven nihilistic trends of the grunge bands” SL AMG by “channeling the independent exuberance of alternative’s New Wave roots” SL and “demonstrating to his rock peers that turntables had a brighter future than refried grunge.” RS Beck “asks us to look past our conventional views of what something should or shouldn’t sound like.” SLOdelay was just as much a swan song for alternative’s passing era as it was the ushering in of a new generation of pop music that was ever so left-of-center.” SL This is “vital music with a flea market ‘tude.” ZS

Where It’s At

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