Album: Paul Westerberg <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

Open Season, LOST HIGHWAY
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The Independent Culture

Take a bow, whoever at Columbia Pictures commissioned Paul Westerberg to write and perform the songs for this animated wildlife feature. Since starting with The Replacements, Westerberg has had an uncanny knack for encapsulating emotional moments with simplicity and an urbane, self-deprecating wit - exactly the qualities Randy Newman brings to his film scores. Here, the punning wit is most obvious in the song title "Right to Arm Bears" - whose delivery just 24 hours after the project was mooted in effect secured Westerberg the gig - though I particularly like the line "I'm a knight in shinin' armchair" from "Any Better Than This", where the smug self-satisfaction is evoked by the high, fluting organ that accompanies the chorus like a fanfare. The bittersweet "Good Day" has been around a while, but it's not the only familiar tune here: Westerberg has developed his own armoury of killer chord-changes and melodic moves over the years, and they're all on show in the opening "Meet Me in the Meadow", whose ascending melody line sounds like the sun rising on the whole project.

DOWNLOAD THIS: 'Meet Me in the Meadow', 'Right to Arm Bears', 'Any Better Than This', 'I Belong'

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