Back in November when Tom Shillue released the first of his monthly “12 in 12” series, I was really impressed. The first album was a great CD and I wondered how he was going to keep up the momentum and release an album that good once a month for an entire year. It turns out I thoroughly enjoyed the first two chapters and, although I liked last month’s contribution, it didn’t quite measure up to the first two. Which brings us to “Edgy,” which I thought was OK, but not as good as the previous. For those of you who are into graphs and charts, the red arrow is moving in the opposite direction in which I’d like it to go.
This time around, I found Shillue doing a lot of idling rather than putting the car into gear and actually taking us somewhere. Instead of tearing down the freeway with the top down I found myself looking over at him from the passenger seat as we sat in a parking lot while he continually revved the engine saying, “Ready? Ready? Ready? Ready? Ready?”
Yes, I’m ready, let’s go.
Shillue’s stage presence, friendly and gregarious, is the same as it always is but his anecdotes don’t have that engaging quality that I’m used to. There seems to be a bit of a disconnect between him and the crowd. Maybe it’s because he’s tackling “edgy” topics like racism and sexism and that’s not really who Shillue is. Even as he explains why a woman’s reason for believing females should rule the world is ridiculous, he finds himself nearly apologizing to the crowd for his against-the-grain point of view. He admits the Brooklyn crowd didn’t care for the bit and now he discovers this crowd doesn’t either. Perhaps all he needs is a new wording, because the more he talks, the more you can feel the crowd pulling away.
One bit I did enjoy comes near the end of the album when, for no other reason than to try to be a rebel, he goes gunning for the Dalai Lama. The more he fake-rages against someone who symbolizes peace, the funnier it gets, and it’s a moment (the only moment, actually) that made me laugh out loud.
Other than that, though, I was a little let down with this one. It didn’t feel like Shillue was being Shillue and it was a little weird. That being said, I’m still looking forward to next month’s album. I like Shillue and am hoping that March is the month the big red arrow takes a northward turn. I’m rooting for you, buddy. Don’t let me down.