I bought Jimmy Buffett's new album Take the Weather With You when it came out in October, 2006, and while I'm not exactly a fan of a lot of the cover songs (10 out of the 14 tracks aren’t written by Buffett and co.), there are a few gems that warrant a nod.
"Bama Breeze" starts off the album, and it's on par with the usual Buffett material, as is "Party at the End of the World, " the song that I think has the nicest rhythm of the entire album. It's kind of along the same lines as "Apocalypso" from Fruitcakes over a decade ago, but certainly not as morbid as it may sound.
“Everybody’s on the Phone” has a title similar to the earlier Buffett song “Everybody’s on the Run, ” but it sounds nothing like it. It’s a song about how electronically centered our society has become, and incidentally was the first place where I heard the term “Crackberry.”
While I recognize the necessity of Elvis in the early development of rock and roll, I'm not really interested in thinking about him on the day he died. “Elvis Presley Blues” isn’t one of my favorites.
"Cinco de Mayo in Memphis" is another strange song with a reasonable beat. I'm not a fan of mariachi bands, though. And I'm not going to comment on "Reggaebillyhill.” Some may like it, but I skip it every time.
One cover song is a Merle Haggard song, and a few others are hard to pinpoint until you do some background reading, like "Wheel Inside the Wheel, " which creeps me out. At first listen it has a good beat, but the lyrics kind of get in my way of enjoying the song.
"Hula Girl at Heart" is my standout favorite on the album, but it seems to come from left field, perhaps appropriate for the man who made history by playing Wrigley Field in Chicago. It fits in well with “Party at the End of the World” as a song that sounds uniquely Buffett, but it doesn’t flow well with the rest of the songs. That’s okay: it has become a staple on my favorite playlists.
The title track is good, but nothing to write home about, probably because it too is a cover song. The one song that really grabbed my attention was "Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On." Here’s a sample lyric: “And it poured/the earth began to strain/Pontchartrain/flooded the Ninth Ward to the second floor.”
It's a good song that is simple yet very to-the-point. Maybe a little too close to home for some, but certainly a nice tribute.
Overall, I think most fans might be better off buying individual tracks off a site like iTunes or Rhapsody instead of purchasing the entire album. I have the CD simply because my Jimmy Buffett collection would be complete if I didn’t get each album as it is released. But compared to the last few releases, this album was a bit of a disappointment. It seemed hurried, like a bunch of cover songs had to be recorded and put out to meet a deadline. The original songs are on par but the covers just don't do it for me.