Eight years after the release of his Top 20 Pop hit “No Myth,” a single that earned him a Best New Artist statuette at the MTV Video Music Awards, songwriter (brother of actors Chris and Sean, and son of director Leo) Michael Penn is back in heavy rotation with “Resigned.”
Produced by Brendan O’Brien, the man behind releases by Pearl Jam, Rage Against The Machine, and Matthew Sweet, “Resigned” finds Penn paying dedicated homage to the Fab Four.
Syrupy harmonies, literate turns of phrase and clever wordplay (“Watch you take the Fifth while I give you the third degree,” Penn sings in the album’s first single, “Try”) mark the release.
And, like the Beatles before him, “Resigned” is distinguished by its oddly textured instrumentation, from the optogon used in “Like Egypt Was,” to the Chamberlin solo in “Me Around.”
“The Chamberlin is an antiquated sampler using tapes under keys,” Penn explained. “For whatever reason it was a sound that I felt a real sort of kinship with and a real need to incude in my stuff. It’s a timeless sort of thing somehow. There’s a quirkiness to it, and humanity to it somehow. It’s astonishing to me that an instrument can have a humanity, but it does.”
Penn’s recent soundtrack collaboration with director Paul Thomas Anderson for the forthcoming “Boogie Nights” earned the songwriter Anderson’s favor. A la Hitchcock, Anderson filmed the video for “Try” in one painstaking shot.
“It’s all built around this location in Los Angeles that’s rumored to be the longest continuous hallway in North America,” Anderson,
in New York for Penn’s gig, said. “It is very, very long, it’s really wonderful and no one’s used it before and so we sorta’ just did this one shot.”
Penn joins Crow for her U.S. tour kick off August 15 in Wantagh, New York.