“I have a dream, a great man said/another man came and shot him in the head”: such is what passes for wisdom in the lyrics of a decaying man-child. I blame this album for singlehandedly derailing my effort to get this blog back off the ground, many a month ago; I checked it out from the library, renewed it, renewed it again, and just could not bring myself to play the damn thing. Finally I uploaded it to my iPod, returned it, and forgot about the whole affair until, months later, trapped on a crowded bus crawling east across Los Angeles from Westwood to downtown at rush hour the other week, I figured life couldn’t get much worse and it was thus the perfect time to pull the trigger.
Well, Croz is not worse than it promised. It might even be the perfect soundtrack for a slow-motion death-march through Beverly Hills and West Hollywood. I’m not sure DC himself knows what decade it is, mentioning “static and hiss” on “Radio” as if he hadn’t heard about that durn digital thing. Or maybe he does know the score, but just really needed to find that challenging rhyme for the previous line’s “this.” It’s not all monosyllabic simpleton lyrics, though, as he strives for the highfalutin platitudes that have marked his work since it first began defacing Byrds tracklists; “fear is the antithesis of peace,” the Croz decrees on “Time I Have.” Man also has cranky things to say about city life. Truly, it is all mind-numbingly abysmal, dragged along by aimless guitar noodling, silly two-finger solos occasionally bending a string over plodding chord-strums (Mark Knopfler guests, but with the vim and vigor of Ghostface obliging Inspectah Deck with a guest verse, clearly saving the A-game for his own work), half-awake pseudo-jazz drumming, and bored-session-player bass (probably the most solid part). There’s an almost-okay song in the subdued acoustic wistfulness of “Holding on to Nothing,” during which DC nearly bothers to construct a melody, but otherwise everything here is bloated, pointless, stupid, and grating. At least Stephen freaking Stills has the decency to just live in the perpetual past.