Martin Mull Patrick Snyder-Scumpy - Essay

Patrick Snyder-Scumpy

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The pop minstrels of the first years of the last decade were outraged idealists venting their passion in livid terms while educating a generation about social injustices, moral atrocities and emotional ambiguities. They determined the key in which the epic opera of the '60s' vast conflagration was played. Now, two years into the '70s, a new crop of musical essayists and commentators has emerged and if they set the tone for this decade as their predecessors did for theirs, it will be a very strange and very different 10 years. Among these new minstrels, the Dylans and Paxtons of the '70s, are Loudon Wainwright, John Prine, David Ackles, Randy Newman and now Martin Mull. Their sensibilities are more soft-spoken, less strident and grandiose, and imbued with a very humane humor that flows from a gently resigned cynicism. The prediliction for allegorical anger has been replaced by a profound openness to and a loving awareness of the diverse eccentricities among men and women whose daily lives create the human condition.

Martin Mull is a very funny man but his first album [Martin Mull] offers much more than a collection of giggling one-liners. He is also a proficient songwriter, an excellent pianist, and a deftly wonderful weaver of words. Anyone who can rhyme "Wyomin'" with "Willy Loman" has got to be something special. Unfortunately for Mull, his work has a surface similarity to that of Randy Newman and it will probably take a while...

(The entire section is 481 words.)